Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Swiss bank Pictet takes in $16 bln of new money

By Martin de Sa'Pinto
ZURICH, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Swiss private bank Pictet & Cie drew in 15 billion Swiss francs ($16.2 billion)of net new money in 2011 as it ducked the effects of a U.S. tax probe that has embroiled listed rivals Credit Suisse and Julius Baer and broke up smaller rival Wegelin.
Assets under management at Switzerland's largest unlisted private bank rose to 247 billion Swiss francs ($268 billion), about 1.6 percent higher than a year earlier as new money was partly offset by a negative market performance.
'We are known as a conservative bank. When there is disruption elsewhere we tend to see inflows,' said Pictet spokesman Simon Roth.
Net new assets came in at more than double the 6 billion francs Pictet was reported to have pulled in a year earlier.
Pictet has a reputation for stringent risk management and advised clients to steer clear of investments with Bernard Madoff and Thomas Petters, two monumental Ponzi schemes which both blew up in 2008.
The United States and other countries, faced with soaring government deficits, are cracking down on offshore tax evasion, focusing their efforts on Switzerland and its long tradition of banking secrecy.
Pictet's total assets under management, custody or administration rose 1 percent to 336.3 billion francs last year, down from a reported 372.4 billion francs a year ago after the bank adjusted its calculation methodology to eliminate double-counting.
Pictet, which is owned by its eight partners and does not publish figures on its profitability or margins, said the revised numbers do not affect revenues, operating results or gross assets.
The bank managed to avoid the staff cuts seen necessary at some rivals such as EFG, where the strong Swiss franc has kept staff costs high while depressing the value of revenues in euros and dollars, and subdued client activity and low interest rates have weighed on profitability.
($1 = 0.9236 Swiss francs)

(Editing by Greg Mahlich) Keywords: PICTET/
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