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Julius Baer Gruppe AG : Merger of Infidar and WMPartners to create one of the largest independent asset managers in Switzerland

11/19/2013 | 02:23am US/Eastern
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Infidar Investment Advisory Ltd., part of the Julius Baer Group, and WMPartners Wealth Management Ltd. are to merge. The move, which will create one of the largest independent asset management companies in Switzerland, is intended to consolidate their leading market position by bundling the companies' skills and expertise. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

Established in 1954, Zurich-based Infidar Investment Advisory Ltd. (Infidar), part of the Julius Baer Group, employs a staff of 26 and has been led by Markus Gonseth since 2007. WMPartners Wealth Management Ltd. (WMPartners), which also has 26 employees and is headquartered in Zurich, was set up in 1971 and is owned by its three partners Willi Leimer, Balthasar Meier and Heiner Grüter. Both companies are already amongst the leading independent asset managers in Switzerland.

In a first step, the Julius Baer Group acquired the shares in WMPartners, and in a second step Infidar will merge with WMPartners. The parties have agreed not to disclose the terms of the transaction.

Employing around 50 staff and managing client assets worth over CHF 4 billion, the new company will be one of Switzerland's largest independent asset managers and will work together with around 30 custodian banks.

Once the transaction is complete, Heiner Grüter, currently partner and CEO at WMPartners, will head up the new company as its CEO. He will continue to pursue the same proven, client-focused strategy, supported by the existing combined management team and the employees of the two constituent companies. The present CEO of Infidar, Markus Gonseth, will focus on client advisory in future.

All the partners in both companies will continue to have a hand in operations after the merger has gone through. Markus Gonseth, Willi Leimer and Balthasar Meier will also have a seat on the new company's Board of Directors. "The two companies complement each other perfectly. We will be able to guarantee our clients the surest possible continuity while also being even better placed to meet our existing and future client requirements with our combined strengths," explained Heiner Grüter.

"The new company will remain completely independent with regard to investment decisions and choosing its custodian banks. At the same time, it will be able to handle the increasingly complex requirements that we are seeing nowadays, while also enjoying the backing of a strong partner in the form of Julius Baer," said Yves Robert-Charrue, Head Independent Asset Managers & Global Custody at Bank Julius Baer. "By bundling our skills and expertise, we are creating one of the largest independent asset managers in Switzerland," he added.

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