People Moves

Falcon's Head Of Private Banking Steps Down From Helm

Josh O'Neill, Assistant Editor, 22 May 2017

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Falcon confirmed Pfister's departure to this publication.

Swiss private banking luminary Erich Pfister, who was named head of Falcon Group's private banking arm last year, has left the scandal-hit firm, this publication can confirm. 

“We can confirm that Erich Pfister decided to leave Falcon to pursue a new opportunity outside of Falcon,” a spokesperson for the bank said in an emailed statement.

The firm provided no further details about his departure. 

Last week, Falcon Private Bank, which was last year kicked out of Singapore amid an alleged money laundering scandal, announced two of its directors were set to leave the firm.

The Abu Dhabi-owned firm said that Murtadha M Al Hashmi and H E Khaled Balama AlTameemi had “decided to leave our board of directors”. 

The bank added: “We would like to thank both gentlemen for their valuable contributions during their tenure on our board.”

The announcement came after an extraordinary meeting of shareholders of the bank, it said. At that EGM, Cyril Latroche was elected as new board member.

The lender has seen a number of senior changes since authorities in Singapore ordered the bank, along with fellow Swiss private bank BSI (now owned by EFG International), to leave the Asia city-state after failings were discovered around money laundering controls. Singapore has punished a number of firms for transactions linked to Malaysia’s state-run 1MDB fund; the fund is accused of being a conduit for corrupt financial flows by politicians and other individuals. Falcon Private Bank last September recruited industry luminary Walter Berchtold as its new chief executive, stepping in to replace retiring CEO Eduardo Leemann.

Latroche is part of the investment team at Aabar Investments PJS, which is the name of the entity owning Falcon Private Bank; he joined Aabar in 2016, where he focuses on the financial services sector. Prior to joining Aabar, Latroche was responsible for the strategic development and the asset management activities of Mubadala GE Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based 50/50 joint venture between Mubadala Development Company and GE Capital.

Singaporean authorities earlier this year charged and jailed a former branch manager of Falcon Private Bank in connection with 1MDB. Jens Sturzenegger was jailed for 28 weeks over 16 charges including failing to report that $1.27 billion of inflows into two bank accounts were suspicious. He pleaded guilty.

Falcon Private Bank, a Swiss firm, has offices in London, Zurich, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. 

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