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(Bloomberg) -- Julius 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 firm 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,” Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin in Singapore. Asia currently accounts for about 20 percent to 25 percent of its business, he said.
The firm is among European private banks that have sought to boost their operations in Asia to profit from growing individual wealth. In an interview a year ago, Collardi said the region 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 percent on an annualized basis, in what Collardi has described as the firm’s “best half-year ever.” In July, he 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 $82.4 billion in assets under management and 380 relationship managers at the end of 2016. Regional competitors DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., which have expanded via acquisitions, are close behind in sixth and seventh, respectively, according to Asian Private Banker.
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