| ZURICH, Sept 15
ZURICH, Sept 15 Swiss private bank Notenstein
and the Swiss unit of Germany's DZ Bank are in talks over a
"stronger collaboration", Notenstein's parent company,
cooperative lender Raiffeisen, said on Thursday.
The two banks gave few details, beyond saying there are
"points of contact" between them which could benefit clients in
Germany and Switzerland through country-specific capabilities.
Any deal would be the latest tie-up in Switzerland's
fragmented private banking industry, under pressure after global
prosecutors chipped away at Swiss bank secrecy rules that
enabled the wealthy to keep cash hidden from the taxman.
"In a first step, the private banking subsidiaries
Notenstein La Roche Private Bank AG and DZ Private Bank AG have
agreed to examine opportunities for cooperation to strengthen
private banking in the respective home markets," Raiffeisen said
in a statement.
St. Gallen, Switzerland-based Notenstein had total client
assets of 26 billion Swiss francs ($26.7 billion) at the end of
June and is primarily focused on the Swiss market.
DZ Bank is Germany's largest cooperative bank. It did not
disclose in its 2015 operations report the amount of assets held
by its Swiss unit, but it is likely smaller than Notenstein.
The talks, which were reported earlier by Swiss finance
website Inside Paradeplatz, are open-ended, Raiffeisen added.
The number of private banks in Switzerland fell to 117 as of
July from 181 in 2005, according to KPMG, which expects this
figure to drop below 100 in the next two years.
In addition to a crack-down on Swiss secrecy bank rules --
which resulted in billions of dollars in fines for banks -- many
banks are being squeezed by increased regulatory and IT costs,
as well as negative interest rates on deposits with the Swiss
($1 = 0.9741 Swiss francs)
(Additional reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Alexander