Two small, private and respected European wealth management banks find themselves on a collision course in 2015. Indeed, following the events of recent years, the upstart Luxembourg outfit Banque Havilland is on the verge of total takeover of the venerable Swiss firm Banque Pasche.
Havilland, founded in 2009 by the British property tycoon David Rowland, has been chipping away at the Pasche brand for the past two years. In that time, Havilland has acquired full or majority stakes in the three Pasche satellite locations outside Switzerland – in Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Nassau, Bahamas – as a means of furthering the Havilland “internationalist” philosophy. According to Havilland CEO Jean-Francois Willems, this stance is based on the bank’s clientele, comprised exclusively of ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals, who demand the bank’s unique suite of services wherever they are in the world.
But Havilland is also looking to expand geographically in order to expand its client base: Willems has been open about the bank’s ambition to be a force in the emerging regions of the world.
“Over the last 12 months our group has been developing an international network of locations from which we can best support the needs of our UHNW client base” Willems said after the third Pasche acquisition, in the Bahamas, in November 2014. “They are global citizens with complex investment and wealth management requirements who need a financial partner that can support them on an international basis.
“Through this transaction, not only are we expanding our geographic reach but also strengthening our access to the strategic growth markets of Latin America and the Middle East.”
The remaining two Pasche locations, in Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland, hardly find themselves in an emerging market. In fact, these two global wealth capitals are two of the most mature investment sectors anywhere on earth.
However, there is reason to believe Havilland will pursue a full takeover of Pasche before it launches an offensive on Riyadh or Rio de Janeiro. Of course, there is the benefit of past deals; Many suitors staked a claim to the Pasche satellites, but Havilland won the acquisition of all three of them. Then, there is the similar investment styles shared by both banks, focusing on providing a rich clientele with an intimate, secure, and wide-ranging banking experience. Finally, there comes the news that Crédit Mutuel-CIC, the French banking behemoth that owns Banque Pasche, has put the Swiss institution on the sales block. According to its recently released annual report, Crédit Mutuel-CIC is holding Pasche as “held for sale” and looking to move it off its book.
It is looking ever more likely that Pasche will move right into the waiting arms of the Havilland family of banks.