Bloomberg News

GENEVA — The Swiss units of the companies that are now J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. have completed their own merger, forming the world’s second-largest private bank behind UBS AG.

J.P. Morgan Suisse SA manages $18 billion for wealthy clients, according to a statement Monday announcing the merger. That amount represents about 5% of the $330 billion managed globally by J.P. Morgan Private Bank, which counts as its customers more than one-third of the Forbes list of the world’s 400 wealthiest people.

J.P. Morgan Suisse will report first-quarter earnings April 18, Ben Kroon, head of strategy and marketing, said in an interview.

The 340-employee unit plans to hire another 40 to strengthen the Geneva headquarters’ position as the parent company’s technology and operations hub for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, he said.

Cornelio Sommaruga, a former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross and senior Swiss government official with responsibility for external economic affairs, will be chairman of the combined operation.

Private banking is booming in Switzerland, with total assets under management at $3 trillion. Profits for the country’s largest private bank, Julius Baer Holding AG, surged 63% in 2000, and the company wants to boost managed assets 15% a year.

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