Julius Baer chief sees Asia making up a 3rd of business

SINGAPOREJulius Baer Group Ltd, Switzerland’s third-largest publicly traded private bank, sees Asia accounting for about a third of its business in the next five years as the rm adds staff to tap into rising affluence in the region.

The Zurich-based bank’s hiring spree from last year is paying off in a “very big way”, CEO Boris Collardi said yesterday in a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore. Asia currently accounts for about 20% to 25% of its business, he said.

The firm is among European private banks that have sought to boost their Asian operations to profit from growing individual wealth. In an interview a year ago, Collardi said Asia may overtake Europe as Julius Baer’s biggest revenue-generating region in five years.

Asian inflows helped the bank boost net new money in the first six months by 6% on an annualised basis, in what Collardi has described as the firm’s “best half-year ever”. In July, the 43-year-old CEO said Julius Baer will continue to recruit in Asia and may add more hubs there. The bank’s cost-income ratio is higher in Asia — in the high 70s — but this isn’t a problem because revenue is rising, Collardi said in Singapore.

“It’s not something that is bothering us because revenue momentum is the most important thing and Asia has had record revenues in the first half,” he said.

Asian Private Banker ranked Julius Baer as the fifth-largest private bank in Asia with US$82.4 billion (RM346.08 billion) in assets under management and 380 relationship managers at the end of 2016. — Bloomberg