Credit Suisse Group AG and Julius Baer Holding AG will consider acquisitions to build their private banking units, according to executives at the Zurich banks.
"We're clearly ready to acquire if the target is close to our own business model," Walter Berchtold, who heads Credit Suisse's wealth management division, told journalists Wednesday at a private banking conference in Zurich. "We look at all sorts of targets." He declined to say whether Credit Suisse will bid for ING Group NV's private banking units in Asia and Switzerland.
Julius Baer, DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. are among the potential buyers of ING's private banking operations, three people familiar with the matter said last week. Credit Suisse made a preliminary offer and is not sure whether it will enter the final round of bidding, one of the people said.
"There are lots of things on the market right now; it's going to be a very interesting six to 12 months," Boris Collardi, the chief executive of Bank Julius Baer, said at the conference. "If the regulatory environment becomes clear again, they won't be in the market."
The sale of private banking assets in Asia, home to the world's two fastest-growing major economies, may attract buyers seeking to expand their wealth management operations in the region. Asia will be the main "driver" of growth in private banking, Berchtold said.
The number of people in China with at least $1 million to invest surpassed that of the U.K. last year, giving it the world's fourth-biggest population of so-called high-net-worth individuals.