Vontobel family affirms commitment to Swiss bank after patriarch's death

Tue Jan 5, 2016 4:36am EST
 
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ZURICH (Reuters) - The family that controls Swiss private bank Vontobel Holding has reaffirmed its ownership role at the group, playing down talk it could sell the business after clan patriarch Hans Vontobel died at the weekend.

The bank stressed on Monday that its independence after the death of Hans Vontobel, the largest single shareholder, had been "a matter of great importance" to him. However, his passing also sparked talk that the family might consider selling parts of the business or the entire bank to bigger rivals.

In an internal memo to staff seen by Reuters on Tuesday, former Chairman Hans-Dieter Vontobel, the son of Hans Vontobel, said: "Our families are fully committed to our company and our engagement as family shareholders, today and for the future."

The bank's shares rose more than 2 percent on Monday on speculation of a sale.

Vontobel's three main businesses are wealth management, investment banking and asset management.

Most Vontobel shares are held by the founding family and a shareholder pool that includes the Vontobel trust, bank executives and the family-run Vontrust.

Last month, the bank nominated two family members to its board of directors, a move Hans-Dieter Vontobel described at the time as an important step to help it remain a family business.

(This story corrects stock move in paragraph 4 to more than 2 percent (not 3 percent)

(Reporting by Oliver Hirt and Michael Shields; Editing by Susan Fenton)

 
The logo of Swiss bank Vontobel is seen at an office building in Zurich July 27, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann