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19 Aug 2004
MOODY'S ASSIGNS A2/PRIME-1 DEPOSIT AND C+ FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS TO EFG PRIVATE BANK SA; STABLE OUTLOOKS
London, 19 August 2004 -- Moody's Investors Service assigned A2/Prime-1 long- and
short-term deposit ratings and a C+ financial strength rating
(FSR) to EFG Private Bank SA (EFGPB). All ratings carry a stable
According to Moody's, the ratings take into account the successful
development that EFG Private Bank has shown since its inception,
its strong business culture and the exclusive focus on private banking
services. Furthermore, they reflect the low risk profile
and sound financial fundamentals of EFGPB, the rating agency added.
Moody's remarked that EFGPB enjoys a high degree of strategic,
commercial and operational autonomy from other members of EFG Bank Group.
In particular, the Swiss private bank is independent from its sister
institution, Greek commercial bank EFG Eurobank Ergasias (rated
A2/P-1/C+), and for its ratings does not rely on its
support. At the same time, EFGPB is fully integrated in the
group's tight monitoring and risk management structure. Although
Moody's does not believe that EFGPB is of strategic importance for
its sister companies within EFG Bank Group, it nevertheless constitutes
a central element of its private banking activities. In Moody's
view, the group is committed to contributing to the further development
of EFGPB's nascent but growing franchise.
As regards EFGPB's attractive business model, Moody's
acknowledged that this appears less product-driven and eventually
more in favour of a long-term approach to serving client needs,
granting client advisors considerable entrepreneurial flexibility and
responsibility for their commercial and financial results. Importantly,
these advisors are embedded in a tight control environment, both
at group and bank level and accompanied by a strong senior management
team. Moody's also noted that senior management and client
advisors show a high degree of cohesion and, as important shareholders
in the bank, see their interests closely aligned with the bank's
longer-term development. This effectively helps reduce the
risk of defections and a corresponding erosion in client numbers and assets.
However, the rating agency added that to date, most of EFGPB's
franchise value is still represented by the advisors' reputation
and access to clients. In the context of EFGPB's expansion
strategy, which has seen a number of acquisitions throughout recent
years and shown good organic growth, Moody's additionally
hinted at the possibility that further internal and external growth could
eventually pose strategic challenges as the bank might lose its character
as a partnership.
Finally, Moody's commented with respect to EFG Private Bank's
good financial strength that the steady growth in assets under management
and operating revenues has resulted in a positive evolution for operating
profits although ongoing investments in the number of client advisors
and the bank's controls and infrastructure continue to affect efficiency
indicators, which are slightly weaker than at some industry peers.
EFGPB's appetite for market and credit risk is modest, Moody's
believes, and kept within tight limits. According to the
rating agency, the private bank benefits from sound asset quality
in its loan portfolio, which is dominated by Lombard lending,
and its securities holdings. Moody's added that economic
and regulatory capital levels are solid.
EFG Private Bank was established in 1995 and is domiciled in Zuerich,
Switzerland. At the end of 2003, it had CHF20.1 billion
of assets under management and reported total assets of CHF3.3
billion, equity of CHF208 million and a net income of CHF33.2
million. EFG Private Bank is majority-owned and fully consolidated
by EFG Bank European Financial Group and represents a core element of
the wealth management activities of Switzerland's 5th largest banking
Samuel S. Theodore
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
No Related Data.
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