November 7, 2012 / 6:36 PM / 5 years ago

Vontobel, Raiffeisen at loggerheads over Wegelin unit

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ZURICH, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Swiss asset manager and investment bank Vontobel is taking large institutional shareholder Raiffeisen Switzerland to arbitration over claims the retail bank is not meeting the terms of a long-standing cooperation agreement.

Vontobel said on Wednesday the banks had failed to come to an agreement over whether Notenstein Privatbank, which Raiffeisen bought in January, could provide certain services directly to Raiffeisen.

"Though Raiffeisen has bought Notenstein, certain services such as investment expertise still have to be outsourced to Vontobel," said Vontobel spokesman Reto Giudicetti. "If Raiffeisen uses Notenstein's internal investment expertise, that breaches our contract with Raiffeisen."

However, he said, the parties had failed to agree on whether Notenstein could provide investment expertise and other services directly to Raiffeisen or not. He said the parties would now seek an independent arbiter to rule on the dispute.

The strategic cooperation between Vontobel and Raiffeisen dates back to 2004 and was underpinned by Raiffeisen's acquisition of a 12.5 percent stake in Vontobel. The agreement is valid until 2017.

Raiffeisen bought Notenstein Privatbank in January after Wegelin, Switzerland's oldest bank, carved itself up under the pressure of a long-running U.S. tax probe, setting up Notenstein to hold 21 billion Swiss francs ($22.2 billion) of assets unaffected by the probe.

The problem U.S. assets remain with Wegelin. ($1 = 0.9456 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing by David Holmes)

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