Thursday, October 29

J. Safra Sarasin delays his entry into Spain until 2021 due to economic uncertainty

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The Swiss private bank J. Safra Sarasin, which has been planning its entry into Spain for more than a year and a half, has delayed its disembarkation until 2021 due to the economic and health uncertainty of the coronavirus. He wants to go after the Jewish community in Spain, but also for other rich people.

The Swiss bank was founded in 1841 and currently belongs to the Brazilian Grupo Safra. East holding It was designed by Syrian-born banker Jacob Safra, and today is chaired by his son Joseph Safra.

The entity began to maneuver to settle in Spain at the beginning of 2019. It considered the purchase of Banco Alcalá, but its majority shareholder, Crèdit Andorrà, had no intention of selling it, so it did not translate into a formal offer.

Since then, his position has been to try to convince top-level management teams – through a headhunter local- in competing private banking firms to sign for Safra, open the doors to great fortunes and pave the way to a possible corporate acquisition.

La Davis and March

At present, the Jewish population in Spain is made up of some 40,000 people, approximately, with data from the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain (FCJE). Among its better known names, there are businessmen, bankers, officials or artists such as Isak Andic, Luis Bassat, the Koplowitz sisters or Cecilia Roth. This is the business niche that interests the Safra, but also other rich Spaniards without Jewish roots.

To make a mark, the private bank sponsored the 2019 Davis Cup held in Madrid, organized by Gerard Piqué’s company. Without going any further, a month ago it partnered with Banca March to launch a new socially responsible investment fund (SRI), which pursues four United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and which the Balearic bank will distribute exclusively in Spain.


However, the strong Covid-19 crisis in our country has caused Safra to rethink its landing this year, a moment that has been postponed until mid-2021, according to sectoral sources familiar with their intentions. The Swiss bank intends to let the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 pass to see if there is more economic visibility in Spain and, if so, to definitely launch the incorporations it needs.

This does not mean, however, that it makes these transfers earlier if the right opportunity presents itself, these sources point out, since the Spanish financial sector is immersed in a second wave of restructuring after the 2008 crisis.

J. Safra Sarasin manages about 186,000 million Swiss francs (about 173,500 million euros, approximately) in client assets, according to their accounts at the end of 2019. 51% of this volume comes from Switzerland, 27% from the rest of Europe, 11% from Asia, and the remaining 11% is distributed between its offices in America and the Middle East.

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