Principal Global Investors opens Zurich office, names Bloch to head it up

Principal Global Investors, an arm of the Des Moines, Iowa-based, NYSE-listed Principal Financial Group, has opened an office in Zurich, as it continues to expand its presence in Europe.

Martin Bloch has been named to head up the operation, which is Principal’s fourth in Europe. It also has outposts in London, Amsterdam and Munich.

Bloch, pictured above, has been named country head, and according to the company, will “drive” Principal’s development in the Swiss market, by overseeing the building of relationships with financial intermediaries and institutional investors there.

He comes to Principal from Robeco, the Dutch asset manager acquired by Orix in 2013, where he worked in a similar role to the one he’s taking on, as Switzerland country manager and head of sales.

Altogether he has almost three decades of experience in the asset management industry, Principal said, including stints with CPP Constant Portfolio Protection, Merrill Lynch International and Banca Della Svizzera Italiana.

Nick Lyster, global head of wealth advisory services at Principal, said the company had seen “a significant increase in demand for our funds and our sub-advisory services from wealth managers in the region” who, he noted, required in particular “the adaptability that our multi-boutique model provides”.

Principal’s move into Switzerland also coincides with a growing interest in banks and others looking after assets in the country to provide alternative wealth structures for high-net-worth individuals who until now have used Switzerland as a place to simply keep their money out of sight – an option that is less possible now, as a result of the global move towards automatic information disclosure.

At the end of December, Principal Global Investors had US$411.1bn (€383.6bn) in assets under management, of which US$17.6bn (€16.4bn) was managed on behalf of European investors.

The company was founded in 1879 as a life insurance provider, changing its name to the Principal Financial Group in 1985, and began expanding internationally in the 1990s.

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