Edmond de Rothschild bank to be taken private by family | Business

The family of Benjamin de Rothschild, a scion of the 250-year-old banking dynasty, has said its plans to take the stock market-listed Edmond de Rothschild bank private.

Edmond de Rothschild would become the only Swiss private bank to be 100% family owned and under a simplified structure would be headquartered in Geneva, the historical centre of the country’s banking sector, if the plan announced on Wednesday is approved.

The family would buy publicly held shares for 17,945 Swiss francs, a 7% premium to the closing price on Tuesday. The shares, traded on the Zurich stock exchange since 1987, rose by almost 7% on Wednesday morning.

A name synonymous with banking

Edmond de Rothschild and Rothschild & Co in June settled a dispute over branding rights: neither may use the Rothschild moniker alone. The bickering between two rival houses may seem arcane, but it illustrates the potency of a name that has been synonymous with banking for more than two centuries.

Both of the modern businesses are run by descendants of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, born in the Jewish ghetto in Frankfurt in the middle of the 18th century. He and his five sons built an international banking dynasty serving businesses and governments across the world.

Through the course of seven generations, family members established themselves in London, Vienna, Naples, Paris and beyond, with Rothschild business interests expanding to other industries including mining, property and even winemaking.

In 2012 the London arm of the banking dynasty, NM Rothschild, was swallowed up by its French cousin, led by David de Rothschild, who rebuilt the investment bank after its predecessor was nationalised by the French government in 1982.

British Rothschild descendants – not directly involved in either of the banking businesses – include Nat Rothschild, a financier involved in a string of energy companies.

Jasper Jolly

Photograph: Hulton Archive

The move is being led by Ariane de Rothschild, who took over running the bank four years ago to become the only female boss of a Rothschild company. She is married to Benjamin de Rothschild, who took over the group from his eponymous father in 1997.

Benjamin de Rothschild said: “By taking it private, we are demonstrating our commitment to our banking group and our ambitions for growth, both organic and through acquisitions. I congratulate my wife and our teams for what has been accomplished in recent years.”

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Edmond de Rothschild is distinct from another family business, Rothschild & Co, the Paris-listed investment bank focused on mergers and acquisitions.

It offers private banking and asset management services to wealthy clients. It manages 170bn Swiss francs (£129bn) in assets and has annual revenues of 1.1bn Swiss francs, though operating profits fell by 6.5% year-on-year to 120m Swiss francs in 2018.

Ariane de Rothschild will become chairwoman of the board of directors of Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse) SA, under which the various Edmond de Rothschild banking operations will be consolidated. Benjamin de Rothschild will be chairman of the ultimate parent company.

Vincent Taupin will become chief executive of the bank, after leading its asset management division since January 2017.

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