Singapore's state fund has taken a stake in Julius Baer, one of Switzerland's largest private banks, in a vote of confidence after months of lacklustre performance.GIC now owns 3.09% of Julius Baer, according to a statement released by the Swiss stock exchange in Zurich. The stake makes GIC one of the largest owners of Julius Baer alongside Blackrock, Wellington Management and UBS Fund Management.The acquisition will ease pressure on chief executive Bernhard Hodler after Julius Baer's stock fell the most among Switzerland's biggest companies last year.
Two years ago, GIC sold its stake in UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, at a loss. Ten years earlier, during the financial crisis, the state fund of Singapore had helped UBS get back on its feet, buying a stake worth more than 10 billion Swiss francs ($10bn). In May 2017, it reduced the stake again to about 2.7%.
Julius Baer implemented a $100m cost cutting programme earlier this year, aiming to reduce its workforce by 2% and reduce its presence in noncore markets around the world. Last month, the bank reported new client money that fell short of its targets.
A GIC spokeswoman declined to comment on the Julius Baer stake beyond the regulatory disclosure.