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Vontobel/Private Equity Holding dispute settled

A private equity fund and its former manager have resolved their disputes in an out of court settlement.

Swiss private equity funds, Private Equity Holding (PEH) and its sister company 5E Holding, have agreed to abandon claims for damages against their former manager, Swiss private bank Vontobel. The out of court settlement has also resulted in Vontobel abandoning reciprocal claims against the two funds. The parties agreed not to disclose any further details.

PEH cancelled its management contract with Vontobel, who it had been with since its formation in 1997, on June 5 with immediate effect on “just grounds”. Among the claims PEH said that there had been several cases of misconduct, which included negligence of duty of care. As a result it said it was checking whether there was any possibility for litigation or claims. Vontobel, however said it would not accept the cancellation of the contract, which would result in a claim on its part.

These events follow the sacking of three executives by Vontobel in March. They were Vontoblel’s CEO Joerg Fischer, its CFO Walter Kaeser, and its head of corporate finance Hans-Peter Bachmann. Fischer was also a board director of PEH and Bachmann was also a CEO of PEH and 5E Holding.

Since June PEH and 5E have been managed by Swiss Life Private Equity Partners. PEH, which is listed on the Swiss stock exchange, has 1.6bn SF invested capital (E1.07 bn) and 5E Holding has around SF120m (E80m).