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Sarasin replaces asset management staff following mass defection

Sarasin says four new hires offer “extensive know-how” for sustainable investing

Swiss private bank J. Safra Sarasin has moved to replace key personnel lost in a mass defection of asset management staff to rival Notenstein, hiring a new Head of Equities, an Investment Centre Head and two portfolio managers. Sarasin said the new hires brought with them “extensive know-how in the areas of equities, portfolio management, sustainable investing and client relationships.” Its new Head of Asset Management – Equities is Florian Esterer, who, between 2003 and 2011, worked on the global equity team of Swisscanto. Like Sarasin, Swisscanto specialises in sustainable investing for institutions. Esterer is also president of the Swiss society of Certified Financial Analysts (CFA). Sarasin’s new Investment Centre Head is Helmut Kotschwar, who comes from RobecoSAM, the rival Swiss sustainable asset manager. Kotschwar joined RobecoSAM in 2008 as a Senior Investment Strategist. Before then, he worked for 14 years at Siemens’ asset management arm and began his career at German private bank Hauck & Aufhäuser.The two new portfolio managers are Thomas Zbinden and Christoph Lang. Like Esterer, Zbinden worked at Swisscanto, where he was a Senior Portfolio Manager. He will have the same assignment at Sarasin. Lang joins from the Zurich Cantonal Bank, which is the country’s fourth largest bank. The four will report to Jan Poser, who was named Sarasin’s new Head of Asset Management following the departure of Andreas Knörzer to Notenstein in late May. Knörzer’s departure led to an exodus from Sarasin, with more than 40 asset management professionals leaving to join him at Notenstein. To house Knörzer and the rest of the professionals, Notenstein has opened a new office not far from Sarasin’s headquarters in Basle. Poser said: “We will continue to win over high-calibre professionals to our firm, and in doing so continue to provide the kind of prudent and rigorous investing that our clients appreciate.” Sarasin, which ran CHF14.5bn (€11.7bn) in assets sustainably before Safra’s buyout, says three-quarters of the departed staff to Notenstein have been replaced.