Swiss private bank Julius Baer plans growth in Asia

Julius Baer plans to expand its Asia-Pacific operations and look at options including acquisitions and partnerships ass it seeks to grow its wealth management operations in the region.

The Swiss private bank hasn’t decided on the final strategy for China, India and Indonesia, which it has identified as “core markets” together with Singapore and Hong Kong, its regional chief said in a news briefing in Singapore.

“These are very high growth centers for private banking,” Asia-Pacific head Jimmy Lee said, referring to the five markets. “Definitely we are going for organic growth, we are going for initiatives, we are going for any potential partnerships, we are going for even acquisitions” in the next two to four years, he added.

Julius Baer wants to hire more relationship managers in the Asia-Pacific area but has been constrained from doing so because demand for them is exceeding their supply, said Lee, who is a member of the Zurich-based bank’s executive board. About a quarter of its 6,400 employees are based in the region, he said.

Julius Baer is still finishing up its plans for China, India and Indonesia. But the Swiss bank is betting that the global move towards tax transparency will push more into these and other onshore markets.

The private bank based in Zurich also has plans to expand its footprint in Europe where it says it is attracting as much new business as in high-growth Asia.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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