(Corrects description of J. Safra Sarasin in first paragraph to
Swiss private bank, from Brazilian-Swiss)
* Price for Morgan Stanley Swiss unit not disclosed
* J. Safra Sarasin acquiring 10 bln Sfr in assets - source
* Swiss Morgan Stanley unit has opted for U.S. tax programme
* Deal to close by end June 2015
ZURICH, April 30 Swiss private bank J. Safra
Sarasin has agreed to buy Morgan Stanley's Swiss private
banking unit, beefing up its business with the wealthy in the
Middle East and Latin America.
The deal underscores the importance of size among private
banks in Switzerland as a crackdown on tax evasion hits the
industry, which provides tailored banking to wealthy
J. Safra Sarasin, formed in 2011 when Safra bought
Basel-based Sarasin for 1.04 billion Swiss francs ($1.18
billion), said on Wednesday it would pay cash according to how
many of Morgan Stanley's assets it could take on, but didn't
disclose specifics on the price agreed.
The bank is buying roughly 10 billion francs in assets under
management, with 130 client advisers in Zurich and Geneva, a
source familiar with the Morgan Stanley unit told Reuters.
J. Safra Sarasin said it couldn't provide an asset figure.
The Swiss unit of Morgan Stanley has opted to work with U.S.
officials in a Swiss government-brokered scheme to crack down on
banks aiding wealthy Americans to evade taxes through hidden
offshore accounts, according to the source.
A spokeswoman for Safra Sarasin said the bank wasn't
acquiring any U.S. clients as part of the deal.
At Morgan Stanley, wealth management in the United States
has gained in importance under the leadership of Chief Executive
James Gorman in order to pay richer dividends.
In the wake of the financial crisis, Morgan Stanley agreed
to buy Citigroup's Smith Barney business over time and merge it
with its own wealth management unit, a process that began in
2009 and ended last year.
The Swiss sale follows changes made by Morgan Stanley to how
it organised its private bank in Asia, for which Switzerland was
originally intended as a platform to expand, according to the
source. The Asian business is not included in the transaction.
The U.S. bank sold its wealth management arm in Europe, the
Middle East and Africa with roughly $13 billion in assets to
Credit Suisse more than a year ago.
($1 = 0.8836 Swiss Francs)
(Reporting by Caroline Copley and Katharina Bart; Editing by