Julius Baer makes Moscow push to attract Russian millionaires

Pedro Gonçalves
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Julius Baer makes Moscow push to attract Russian millionaires

Swiss-headquartered Julius Baer is expanding its operations in Russia in a bid to attract the country's millionaires after years of serving them from Switzerland.

The wealth manager aims to get 200 new clients within the year after establishing a local entity in December, said Ewgeni Smuschkovich, market head for Russia, Central and Eastern Europe. The bank, which previously only had a representative office in Moscow, will hire six to eight relationship managers.

"There are many clients in Russia who still keep their money in deposits rather than use financial consultants," he said. "With our expertise in private banking we may offer more customized solutions compared with big local banks," such as mortgages on real estate in Europe, Smuschkovich (pictured) told Bloomberg.

Businessmen either need a skilled adviser to address their high demands, or they had their fingers burned some time ago and need to be convinced that financial markets are not bad and there are interesting opportunities"

The company sees the country as a focus market, not least because of the large number of rich business people. The anticipated new client will have assets of at least 2 million Swiss francs ($2m).

"Businessmen either need a skilled adviser to address their high demands, or they had their fingers burned some time ago and need to be convinced that financial markets are not bad and there are interesting opportunities," said Smuschkovich.

Julius Baer has functioned through a representative office since 2008, but did not allow it to advertise its services. The Moscow office was caught the headlines early 2018 because of a dubious arms deal.

The previous head of the Moscow branch of Julius Baer reportedly helped put in place a dodgy arms deals instigated by a manager of Swiss state-owned weapons manufacturer Ruag and a Zug-based arms dealer. The Zurich-based private bank soon suspended the banker.