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Julius Baer Reportedly Mulls China JV

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , 2 November 2020

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Julius Baer has, like several of its European peers, set up joint ventures in parts of Asia as a way to tap into local HNW markets.

Julius Baer plans to create a majority-owned China joint venture to tap into the country’s growing population of high net worth individuals, Reuters reported on Friday last week. 

If it gets clearance, Julius Baer will be the first major private bank to set up a wealth management joint venture in China.

The Zurich-listed bank is likely to take a decision on its Chinese partner next year before starting the formal licence application process, the news service quoted unnamed sources as saying.

The report said Julius Baer declined to comment.

The bank’s chief executive, Philipp Rickenbacker, has been quoted as saying that “mainland China is always the big prize.” Julius Baer has, as reported regularly by this news service, spoken of Asia as its “second home market.”

Julius Baer already has a JV in Thailand - SCB Julius Baer - to give another example of an Asia-based JV. 

In August this year, Julius Baer partnered with Beijing International Wealth Management Institute, the first foreign organisation to do so.

A number of European firms have built joint ventures with Asian players as a way of obtaining rapid entry into a market that might otherwise take more time and resources to carry out directly. Others include the Schroders JV with Bank of Communications in China; DBS Bank and DBS Vickers Securities (Thailand); and Liechtenstein’s VP Bank's joint wealth management platform in Hong Kong with Hywin Wealth Management (China). In 2018 the Swiss Bankers Association called for medium-sized Swiss banks, which lacked some of the footprint of the top-tier players, to forge local partnerships as a way of tapping into the region’s fast-growing wealth.

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