Bloomberg News

Baer Absorbs Macquarie Asia Private-Client Bankers in Venture

October 13, 2011

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Julius Baer Group Ltd., the fifth- biggest Swiss wealth manager, will absorb Macquarie Group Ltd.’s private-client business in Asia as part of a venture with the Australian bank.

Baer will gain about $1 billion in client assets as Macquarie advisers in Hong Kong and Singapore become employees of the Swiss company. Baer agreed to refer private clients in the region looking for investment-banking services to Sydney- based Macquarie, according to a statement from both banks. A Baer spokesman declined to give further terms of the deal.

“This is another important step to expand Julius Baer’s footprint in the world’s most important growth region, underlining our commitment to Asia as our second home market,” Baer Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said.

Baer, which already has offices in Jakarta, Hong Kong and Singapore, aims to have a fourth of its assets under management in Asia by 2015, Thomas Meier, the Zurich-based bank’s CEO for Asia and the Middle East, said last month. The wealth of Asian- high-net worth individuals is expected to triple to $16 trillion by that point, the bank said in a joint study with Hong Kong- based CLSA Asia Pacific Markets last month.

The bank is putting less emphasis on Europe and North America amid a crackdown on tax havens. Two Baer client advisers were charged in New York this week with helping Americans evade taxes. The bank has said it’s cooperating with a U.S. investigation, though it declined to comment on the indictment.

Collardi said in July that the bank may make acquisitions in emerging markets and in Switzerland. Baer purchased 30 percent of Brazil’s biggest independent wealth manager, GPS, to build an onshore presence in Latin America, the company said in May. Bank Sarasin & Cie., a Basel, Switzerland-based private bank with 101.6 billion Swiss francs ($113.3 billion) of client assets under management, would be a “good strategic fit,” Jan Bielinski, a spokesman for the bank said yesterday.

Macquarie, Australia’s largest investment bank, said it will continue to grow in the Asia-Pacific region through banking, financial advisory, investment and fund management.

--Editors: Keith Campbell, Dylan Griffiths.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly in Paris at fconnelly@bloomberg.net


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