Falcon Private Bank of Switzerland declared that it was not for sale, contrary to a story published earlier in the day. The report went on to say that its new Chief Executive, Walter Berchtold, who resumed office on the 1st of October, had been told to immediately find a buyer for the bank. Falcon Bank is owned by International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC), a sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi. The report was published in InsideParadeplatz, a finance blog based in Switzerland. The author, Lukas Haessig, went on to say that Geneva’s Banque Heritage was a potential buyer. Falcon denied having spoken to Banque Heritage on any occasion regarding a possible merger or acquisition. Banque Heritage had yet to make a comment on the report.
The financial position of Falcon Private Bank is under threat, having failed an inspection in Singapore. The central bank of Singapore carried out an on-site inspection of the bank in April 2016 and found it complicit in breaching anti-money laundering regulations. Singapore’s central bank noted that the management of what the bank determined as key client relationships were being handled by the head office in Switzerland. However, the investigation is yet to release its findings. What was revealed was that the investigation carried out in Singapore was for money-laundering offences regarding Malaysia’s state fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). Several other banks besides Falcon have been under investigation.
It has been speculated that the rumoured sale of Falcon Private Bank might be due to the merger of its owners. International Petroleum Investment Co is merging with Mubadala, an investment fund also run by Abu Dhabi. The merger is due to ongoing consolidations in the country, as they battle against the fall in oil prices.