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(Bloomberg) -- Julius Baer Group Ltd. exceeded its target for net new money in the first half, with strong inflows from clients in areas where the bank has stepped up recruitment of private bankers.

Assets under management increased 6 percent, or 19 billion francs ($20.1 billion) Swiss francs, in the first half to 355 billion francs, Switzerland’s third-biggest private bank said in a statement Monday. Net new money rose 6.1 percent -- about 10 billion francs -- on an annualized basis compared with 4 percent at the end of last year. The bank is targeting an increase of between 4 percent and 6 percent in net new money per year.

“We are extremely pleased to see the initial returns on last year’s significant investments already being reflected in a record half-year adjusted net profit,” Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said in the statement.

With client activity subdued, Julius Baer has turned to recruitment to expand its asset base. The bank hired 166 relationship managers last year, which contributed significantly to the inflows.

Net new money was helped by strong net inflows from clients in Asia, the Middle East and Monaco, as well as a substantial recovery in net inflows in Latin America, the bank said.

Operating income increased to 1.59 billion francs from 1.42 billion francs a year earlier, the Zurich-based company said. That was in line with an average estimate of 1.56 billion francs by six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jan-Henrik Förster in Zurich at jforster20@bloomberg.net, Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net, Cindy Roberts

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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