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(Bloomberg) -- Julius Baer Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi ruled out holding talks with potential buyers and said Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager isn’t for sale.
“I continue to be convinced we have a strong standalone strategy and we have the means to execute it,” Collardi said Monday in a telephone interview.
Julius Baer shares jumped 8.6 percent to 40.84 Swiss francs, the biggest rally in more than five years, after the Zurich-based firm reported an almost doubling in 2014 profit and increased its dividend.
Acquisitions and investing in private-banking networks in Asia helped Julius Baer boost assets under management by 89 percent to 291 billion Swiss francs ($314 billion) at the end of December from five years ago, when Collardi became CEO. About half of those assets are in “growth markets” such as Asia, according to the company.
“There are several institutions that look at Julius Baer, at our KPI leadership,” Collardi said in a separate interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown” with Manus Cranny, referring to key performance indicators companies use to gauge whether they are meeting their strategic and operational goals. He was answering a question about whether Julius Baer was an acquisition target.
Julius Baer has focused for the past 2 1/2 years on integrating about 60 billion francs of non-U.S. Merrill Lynch client assets purchased from Bank of America Corp. in 2012 and is seeking further acquisitions to keep growing.
“I didn’t even ever imagine in my dreams that one day Julius Baer, a small swiss private bank, would be able to afford acquiring the raging bull of Merrill Lynch,” Collardi, 40, said in the telephone interview.
That deal has increased Julius Baer’s knowledge and competence in doing large transactions and the company doesn’t exclude doing another deal of that size, or even larger, in the future, he said.
Julius Baer hasn’t made an offer for Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s Coutts International assets because the auction process would have required too much time, cost and negotiation, Collardi said.
A new information-technology platform will make it easier for Julius Baer to enter markets at a lower operating cost, he said. While the bank announced 100 million francs of cost cuts on Monday, Collardi said he plans future investment in operations in Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. An onshore expansion in China will be “on the agenda” in the next five years, he said.
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