Swissquote, a Switzerland based banking group, announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Luxembourg-based Internaxx Bank S.A. The acquisition will allow Swissquote to have unrestricted access to the European market.
Swissquote signed the deal with Interactive Investor Limited, an online trading and investment platform which is majority controlled by J.C. Flowers & Co. The agreement will come into effect following regulatory approval.
The agreement is worth EUR 27.7 million and it includes goodwill of approximately 25 percent. The Swiss banking group is fully financing the purchase with its own funds.
“Unrestricted access to the European markets is very important to Swissquote, especially as Brexit draws closer,” CEO Marc Bürki commented on the acquisition.
“By acquiring Internaxx, we aim to further consolidate our standing as first choice for international clients (expats) thanks to our specialized services,” he added.
Internaxx has been operating as a fully licensed online international bank since 2001. It has approximately 12,000 clients which are mainly international investors and expats.
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The bank’s clients have typically joined the Luxembourg bank because they are wanting online access to international investments, whilst at the same time, have the security of using a European Bank. According to the statement, the bank’s clients will have access to Swissquote’s range of products and services in the future.
“Swissquote has the resources, scale and platforms to accelerate our ambition to provide clients with the broadest range of market-leading products and services,” Dave Sparvell, the CEO of Internaxx, added.
“As we integrate the Swissquote family, we will help more expats and international investors achieve their financial objectives,” he said.
Swissquote is preparing for Brexit
With the Brexit deadline less than a year away many banks and financial firms that are based in London or the United Kingdom are looking to expand and separate their European operations into European Union (EU) countries. This is so they can continue offering their services in the EU should a “hard Brexit” deal come into effect at the end of March next year.
Because of this, it is not a surprise that Swissquote has chosen Luxembourg as its country of choice to gain access to EU markets. There are a variety of reasons for this – the country is considered to be a tax haven, it is one of the world’s wealthiest countries, it has a healthy budgetary position and has one of the highest current account surpluses as a share of GDP. The country is also the second largest investment fund centre in the world after the United States.
Luxembourg is also conveniently located in between Germany and France – the first and third largest economies in Europe. As a result, Swissquote is not alone in creating ties in Luxembourg ahead of Brexit. In fact, many firms are relocating their European operations to the country. Earlier this year, Finance Magnates reported that T Rowe Price, an asset management firm, is moving its European operations over to Luxembourg.