March 21, 2013 / 3:10 PM / in 5 years

Generali's BSI pulls in $8 billion in new money

* Lugano-based bank’s assets rise to 86 billion Sfr

* High growth markets boost inflows

* Italian insurer Generali looking to sell BSI

By Martin de Sa‘Pinto

ZURICH, March 21 (Reuters) - Client assets jumped at Swiss private bank BSI in 2012, boosted by a record 7.5 billion Swiss francs ($7.95 billion) in new money inflows and adding to prospects for its proposed sale by Italian insurer Generali .

The Lugano-based bank raked in money from high growth markets like Latin America and Asia and reported solid inflows in Switzerland, lifting assets 11 percent to 86.3 billion Swiss francs.

Private bank revenues have been hit hard by flaccid client activity and low interest rates since the onset of the financial crisis.

BSI’s net profit rose 22 percent to 71 million francs as the company kept a lid on costs and a growing emerging market client base lifted revenues.

“Asian and Middle Eastern customers remained active, compensating partially for the (trading) inactivity of European and Latin American customers,” BSI Chief executive Stefano Coduri told Reuters by telephone.

He said assets booked in Singapore had reached around $10 billion, hitting a five-year target two years early, and that the branch was profitable as of early 2013.

He said the bank was still taking on staff, and would open a branch in Milan on April 2. He said BSI was also investing to develop its business in Zurich and Geneva.

Coduri declined to say how the sale of BSI was progressing, citing non-disclosure agreements.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Spain’s Bankinter had teamed up with U.S. investment fund Apollo Global Management for a bid worth up to 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion), according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

The bank is also said to have drawn interest from potential bidders in Brazil and China.

Generali, Europe’s third-biggest insurer, said in January it planned to raise 4 billion euros by 2015 by selling assets including its life reinsurance arm in the United States and BSI as new boss Mario Greco looks to pay down debt. ($1 = 0.7722 euros) ($1 = 0.9439 Swiss francs) (Editing by David Cowell)

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