Julius Baer starts hunt for new Latin America boss -sources

ZURICH, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Swiss private bank Julius Baer is looking for a new head of its Latin America business to replace Gustavo Raitzin, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Raitzin is aware of the process to find his replacement, the people said. Approaching 60 years of age and having led Zurich-based Baer’s Latin America business since 2005, Raitzin wants a change, according to one of the people.

This is part of the bank’s succession planning and does not mean there will be an immediate replacement, the other person said.

The bank has mandated a recruitment firm for the search.

Private banking in Latin America has been hit by several countries in the region offering a tax amnesty to the wealthy in return for declaring their offshore holdings, resulting in withdrawals from banks.

In its half-year report published in July Baer said it wants to expand its business in Latin America and that, despite some tough financial markets and political uncertainties, it saw “significant growth potential” in much of the region.

In recent years Baer has grown through a string of purchases, the largest of which was a deal to acquire Merrill Lynch’s international private banking business, to catch up to larger rivals UBS and Credit Suisse.

But aside from some smaller deals, Baer this year has largely focused on hiring relationship managers, or private bankers, from peers.

At the end of the first half of 2016 Baer had total assets under management of 311 billion Swiss francs ($306.2 billion). ($1 = 1.0156 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Greg Mahlich)