RBC Said in Advanced Talks to Sell Swiss Unit to Banque Syz

Royal Bank of Canada is in advanced talks to sell its Swiss private bank to Banque Syz SA, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Geneva-based business has about 10 billion Swiss francs ($10.6 billion) of client assets under management and a final deal hasn’t been signed, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

Royal Bank, Canada’s largest lender by assets, said in November it was reviewing its Swiss private bank. Foreign financial firms are retreating from Switzerland as the regulatory and compliance cost of managing private wealth offshore increases.

Rina Cortese, a spokeswoman for Royal Bank in Toronto, and Moreno Volpi, a spokesman for Banque Syz, declined to comment.

Eric Syz, who co-founded his firm in 1996, said last August he was targeting businesses with between 1 billion and 10 billion francs of client assets. The firm has private banking and institutional fund management operations and oversaw 28.6 billion francs at the end of 2014.