Arab Bank has blocked a Swiss private bank

Two years ago, it proudly celebrated its 175th anniversary. Now, an Arab financial institution has surprisingly taken over the Geneva-based private bank Gonet. What happened?

Jordanian Arab Bank (Switzerland) has taken over a majority stake in Geneva-based private bank Gonet, the two very different institutes made a surprise announcement on Thursday afternoon.

Specifically, the 60-year-old Arab Bank (Switzerland) will take over a majority stake in the family holding, which in turn owns the money house founded in 1845. Nicolas Gonetthe current CEO of the family bank, will take up his position at the beginning of 2023 Jean-Rene Lepezelmember of the executive committee and head of private banking since 2017.

New management team and old acquaintances

(Jean-René Lepezel, Serge Robin, Nicolas Gonet, von links, Bild: Gonet)

Gonet will join the board of “his” bank, of which he will become chairman in 2024, and will also sit on the board of Arab Bank (Switzerland). Serge Robin, CEO of Arab Bank (Switzerland), will join Gonet’s board of directors, it was further learned. (Robin) knows Bank Gonet well, he was a partner there from 2010 to 2018 and later Deputy CEO.

Both banks are of similar size (CHF 6 billion in assets under management in Arab Bank and CHF 5.5 billion in Gonet) and will continue to exist separately, retaining their autonomy, name and banking license.

Both will be held by a new holding company in the future. Bank Gonet also expanded to Zurich two years ago reported.

Gastronomy instead of banking

The transaction is officially presented as a “strategic partnership” aimed at providing customers of both banks with access to an expanded range of products and services, according to a press release. But it is also a fact that these two institutions are barely of critical size to survive in the long term in the highly competitive and highly regulated environment of private banking in Switzerland.

In the financial circles of Geneva on Thursday evening, there was a rumor that Nicolas Gonet, who has no family heirs to continue the banking business, would prefer to devote himself to his other interests in the future, especially gastronomy, specifically his restaurant. Le Lyrique’ in the financial district of Geneva.

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