Julius Baer Absorbs More Units Amid Merrill Integration

Julius Baer Group Ltd. absorbed businesses in Uruguay, Chile, Monaco and Luxembourg as Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager integrates the Merrill Lynch operations acquired last year.

While the financial advisers and customer relations of those entities were transferred yesterday, client assets will only be moved in a “staggered manner,” the Zurich-based bank said today in a statement. Julius Baer expects to transfer the Hong Kong, Singapore and U.K. businesses later this year.

“With the addition of Uruguay, where we are now one of the biggest players, and Chile, we have expanded our business massively in the fast growing market of Latin America,” Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said in the statement. “We enter the market in the important financial centre Luxembourg with a substantial client base.”

Julius Baer said in October it may cut more than 1,000 jobs after purchasing Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch wealth management units outside the U.S. While the deal may boost client assets by as much as 72 billion Swiss francs ($76 billion) by 2015 as Julius Baer makes purchases to compete with larger rivals UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, the unprofitable Merrill business may increase pressure on the bank’s margins.

Julius Baer rose 0.3 percent to 370.2 francs as of 9:33 a.m. in Zurich. The shares have increased 14 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 8.3 billion francs.

The bank had assets under management of more than 200 billion francs as of Feb. 1, up from 189 billion francs reported at the end of December. It started absorbing Merrill Lynch units last quarter, beginning with the 11 billion francs of assets under management at the Swiss business.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.