Credit Suisse Merges Europe Private Bank Units Reversing Split

Credit Suisse Group AG will merge its private banking operations in eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa with western Europe, completing an overhaul of its operations in the region.

The bank, Switzerland’s second-biggest, will combine the regions starting Oct. 1, according to a memo sent to employees today and confirmed by a spokesman. Romeo Lacher, currently head of private banking in western Europe, will lead the merged unit while Alois Baettig is leaving the firm after stepping down as head of private banking in eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, according to a separate memo.

Credit Suisse has been reorganizing its wealth management businesses in western Europe since splitting the region in 2012. It’s also sought to improve tax compliance by its clients as Switzerland’s private banking industry and traditional secrecy have come under unprecedented scrutiny from tax authorities in the U.S. and Europe.

“The time is right to bring the two teams back under one management,” Gael de Boissard the bank’s chief executive officer for EMEA and Hans-Ulrich Meister, co-head of the bank’s private banking and wealth management unit, said in the memo describing the organizational changes. “Significant progress has been made in solving legacy cross-border tax matters with the aim to finalize by the end of 2015.”

The Swiss bank sold its German private-banking business to ABN Amro Group NV’s Bethmann Bank in December and its wealth management business in Italy catering to the affluent to Banca Generali SpA in July.

Baettig is leaving to pursue personal interests outside the bank after a 40-year career at Credit Suisse, according to the memo announcing his departure.

The news was reported earlier today by Swiss financial website Finews.ch.

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