Banque Cramer clinches deal to buy Valartis wealth manager
* Valartis Group to receive undisclosed sum plus 25 pct of Cramer parent
* Will take board seat at both Cramer and its parent company
ZURICH May 16 (Reuters) - Swiss private bank Banque Cramer & Cie said it will acquire Valartis Group's Swiss wealth management business for an undisclosed cash sum and a 25 percent stake in its parent company.
The latest in a slew of mergers and acquisitions among Swiss banks faced with a drop in client numbers after a loosening of the country's secrecy laws will nearly double Cramer's assets under management to 4.8 billion Swiss francs ($5.39 billion).
The country's smallest players have been hit hardest, with higher regulatory costs squeezing margins and forcing many to seek mergers or shut up shop.
"The integration of Valartis Bank into Banque Cramer constitutes another very important strategic step for us," Cramer Chairman Marco Netzer said in a statement.
"It will allow Banque Cramer to further strengthen and expand its wealth management business and to create added value for its clients."
The acquired business employs 60 staff in Zurich, Geneva and Lugano.
Valartis Bank's parent, Valartis Group, will take a board seat at both Cramer and its parent company Norinvest Holding , as well as the 25 percent Norinvest stake.
Valartis Group will retain private banks in Austria and Liechtenstein as well as funds and private equity businesses. ($1 = 0.8914 Swiss Francs) (Reporting By Katharina Bart; Editing by David Goodman)