Investec Considering Sale of Its Swiss Private Banking Unit

Investec Plc, which owns a private banking business and money manager that operates in South Africa, Australia and the U.K., said it’s considering selling its private banking unit in Switzerland.

“We’re in the process of looking at selling our Swiss private bank,” spokeswoman Ursula Nobrega said by mobile phone today. The move is “in line with the continued efforts to realign” that business, she said, declining to comment further.

The FTSE 100-listed bank hired Fenchurch Advisory Partners to advise it on the sale, the Mail on Sunday reported earlier today. Investec Bank (Switzerland) has 1.95 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) of assets under management and has offices in Zurich and Geneva, according to the newspaper.

Investec is moving away from lending to conserve capital while investing in its asset-management and wealth business to boost earnings. The bank, which is traded in both London and Johannesburg, last year bought British fund manager Rensburg Sheppards Plc to expand the division, which accounts for almost 40 percent of operating profit.

The bank also wants to expand into India and Hong Kong to capture more of the transaction flows between Chinese and Indian companies buying resources in Africa and Australia. This year it bought Access Capital in Hong Kong and has received regulatory approval in South Africa to set up an advisory business in India, Chief Executive Officer Stephen Koseff said on May 19.

Investec posted net income of 420.5 million pounds for the 12 months through March, up from 346.1 million pounds a year earlier, the company said last month.

Shares in Investec have fallen 4.5 percent in Johannesburg since the start of the year, and gained 0.5 percent to close at 53.61 rand as of 5 p.m. local time on June 24.

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