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Sat 3 Mar 2012 02:05 PM

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Swiss bank plans to double MidEast managed assets

Julius Baer currently has 100 staff serving the Middle East and three offices in the region

Swiss bank plans to double MidEast managed assets
Swiss bank Julius Baer

Swiss private banking group Julius Baer is aiming to double its assets under management in the Middle East over the next few years, senior officials told Arabian Business.

“We believe this Middle East area is a growth area and one of the key strategic markets for our bank. We are very positive we want to double the assets under management and we are growing by recruiting the best people we can,” Remy Bersier, a member of the bank’s executive board, said in an interview in Dubai.

“Its specific to the Middle East, but globally there are ambitious targets too and to double the asset base within a few years… Clearly the growth in this market does offer attractive opportunities,” added Edmond Carton, head of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Assets under management (AuM) at the end of 2011 amounted to CHF170bn ($187bn), which was unchanged from the end of 2010, the bank said in February. The bank does not disclose what percentage of these assets are owned by customers in the Middle East.

Founded in Switzerland in 1890, Julius Baer entered the Middle East market in 2004 with the granting of a licence by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

It followed this up with the opening of branches in Cairo and Abu Dhabi in 2007 and currently has around 100 people servicing the region, with additional support from staff in Geneva, Zurich and London.

Although the Arab Spring anti-government demonstrations had an impact on economies and stock markets in the region, Bersier said he did not seen it having any impact on the bank’s long term plans in the region.

“We do not believe this will impact… It has not influenced on our strategic positioning,” he said.

The importance of the region was endorsed in the bank’s recent financial results released in February.

Boris FJ Collardi, CEO of Julius Baer Group, said; “We were able to maintain our Group’s business momentum in most dimensions in 2011 despite a challenging market and business environment.

"In further adjusting to the shifting patterns of wealth generation and distribution globally, we made first inroads into the local Brazilian market, significantly broadened our presence and product capabilities in Asia, and enhanced the coverage of Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East.”

Carton and Bersier were visiting Dubai for the 2012 Cartier International Dubai Polo Challenge, where Julius Baer sponsored a team for the third year running.

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