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15. Apr. 2020 - Press release

Kuno Frick Family Foundation keeps majority stake in Bank Frick

Contrary to the previous contractual agreements, Net 1 UEPS Technologies, Inc. (Net1) will not become the majority shareholder of Bank Frick. The previous and future majority shareholder, the Kuno Frick Family Foundation (KFS), and Net1 have agreed to this. The reason for the change in direction is the resolution by Net1 to preserve its liquidity in this “uncertain and volatile” times.

Kuno Frick Family Foundation keeps majority stake in Bank Frick

Net1 will not become the majority shareholder of Bank Frick. The majority stake in the bank will continue to be held by KFS, the previous majority shareholder. It will thus continue to hold 65% of the shares in Bank Frick. Net1 will retain a 35% stake as minority shareholder. Net1 and KFS have reached a contractual agreement in this regard.

In October 2019, Net1, KFS and Bank Frick announced that the South African technology company had exercised its option to acquire a majority stake in Bank Frick. This led to the initiation of the qualifying holdings procedure at the Financial Market Authority (FMA) Liechtenstein. The approval by the FMA at the end of March 2020 is no longer relevant due to the change in direction.

Direction at Net1 has changed: securing liquidity and focusing on Africa

Since Net1’s decision to exercise its option, the company has seen the circumstances change. Net1 will not acquire a majority stake in Bank Frick so it can “maintain liquidity in the current uncertain and volatile macroeconomic environment” (see press release of Net1), and the company will turn its “short-term focus on opportunities in South Africa and Africa”.

“KFS and the Bank have engaged in intensive discussions with our colleagues in South Africa in recent weeks to clarify how the partners can reverse the October 2019 agreement on the transfer of the majority stake in Bank Frick to Net1”, explains Mario Frick, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Frick and authorised agent of KFS: “We respect Net1’s wish, and KFS has offered a hand in finding a good solution for all sides.” Part of the solution is a payment that Net1 will make to KFS as compensation for the disadvantages suffered; this also includes a contribution for the integration and project work previously done as part of the planned transfer of the majority stake to Net1.

Bank Frick will continue to focus on integrated blockchain and classic banking

“The previous majority shareholder of Bank Frick will continue to be the majority shareholder, so nothing will change in this regard. The strategy of focusing on blockchain and classic banking for intermediaries will also remain the same as it has proved to be a success. It will remain untouched”, said Frick.

“Over the next few weeks, the Management Board will analyse how we can move ahead with individual projects that were accelerated at the Bank because of the Net1 Europe strategy.”

“As a representative of the majority shareholder, I would like to emphasise that our concern has always been and will also continue to be what helps the Bank most; that is why we were also prepared to reach an agreement with Net1. Obviously, an acquisition of the majority stake by Net1 at the present time and under the conditions described would not have offered the Bank any added value. That is why the decision by Net1 is regrettable, but it is best to abandon this plan in a timely manner now”, Mario Frick concluded.

Media Contact

Bank Frick & Co. AG
Sigvard Wohlwend, Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing
T +423 388 21 46
sigvard.wohlwend@bankfrick.li

About Bank Frick

Bank Frick specialises in banking for intermediaries. The Liechtenstein bank provides a fully integrated offering of classic banking and blockchain banking services. Its clients include fintechs, asset managers, payment service providers, family offices, fund promoters, pension funds and fiduciaries.

Bank Frick has been family-run since its foundation as a licensed universal bank in 1998, and it adopts an entrepreneurial approach. The Bank is currently under the majority control of the Kuno Frick Family Foundation (65 per cent). Net1, the Nasdaq-listed financial technology group, owns 35 per cent of its share capital. The Bank employs over 130 members of staff at its Balzers office and operates a branch in London, UK.

Bank Frick is one of Europe’s pioneers of the regulated blockchain banking sector. Its offering covers trading and custody of crypto assets, as well as token sales. The Bank also develops tailored crypto-structuring solutions for intermediaries.

In addition to its highly regarded basic services, Bank Frick’s classic banking offerings cover services for funds and issues, focusing on formulating European (AIF, UCITS) and national fund solutions. In the capital market sector, Bank Frick develops tailored financial products for intermediaries and supports them along the whole issue process, acting also as a custodian bank.

Bank Frick is the only Liechtenstein bank with acquiring licences from Visa and MasterCard, and it can process card payments globally for payment service providers and their online merchants.

Bank Frick established subsidiaries in 2019 to appear independently on the market with new services: Distributed Ventures AG, an incubator and accelerator to promote and finance fintech and blockchain start-ups, and The DLT Markets AG, which offers institutional investors professional access to digital assets. Also in 2019, Bank Frick took over the fintech company Tradico AG, which specialises in finance for goods purchasing for SMEs, and acquired a majority stake in the fintech company 21.finance AG, which operates area2Invest, a digital investment platform for classic and tokenised financial products.

 

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