Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) has bought up the stakes of Riyad Bank and private investors in Saudi-Swiss Bank, a small joint venture set up in the 1970s, which it now plans to liquidate.

‘UBS has acquired from the Riyad Bank and private shareholders all the remaining shares of the Saudi-Swiss Bank not already in its possession,’ said a statement issued by UBS on 15 May. ‘Its business operations will be integrated into other UBS group companies and the bank subsequently liquidated.’ Saudi-Swiss Bank is based in Geneva and employs 11 people, specialising in asset management and investment advisoiy services. It was set up by UBS, Riyad Bank and Saudi investors in 1979 as the Bank for Saudi-Swiss Trade & Investment, at a time when Arab banks commonly sought access to international markets through partnerships with Western banks.

Riyad Bank’s deputy board chairman Rashed Abdel-Aziz al-Rashed told the London Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat that the bank had sold its stake in SaudiSwiss Bank as part of its strategy of having a direct presence overseas rather than through joint ventures. AI-Rashed said Riyad Bank had held a 29 per cent stake, which it sold to UBS for SF 17 million ($13.6 million).