The private bank sees big potential across the UK, planning offices in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow.
Julius Baer, the Zurich-listed private bank, is opening offices in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow, also creating a small team in Belfast as part of a UK-wide drive.
Newly-hired relationship managers will be joining the firm in coming months, operating from premises expected to be opening later this year. It is understood that about 30 staff will be taken on.
The move, announced by the bank today, comes five years after it announced it was buying the non-US international wealth management arm of Merrill Lynch, part of Bank of America. Merrill had a regional footprint in parts of the UK but in 2013 it shuttered offices in Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh. The latest development therefore represents something of a return to a wider UK regional presence.
Explaining its decision, Julius Baer said that two-thirds of the UK’s wealth is held by individuals outside London and the south east.
“This is another step in Julius Baer Group’s growth strategy. Experienced relationship managers are attracted by Julius Baer’s pure wealth management model. The UK, with its deep pool of talent in financial services, is a strategic location for investment and growth. We are committed to building a strong business for the long term and serving clients across the whole country," Yves Robert-Charrue, head of Europe, Julius Baer, said.
David Durlacher, chief executive of Julius Baer International Limited, told this publication: "Julius Baer has a long-term and strategic approach to its thinking" [about its regional footprint]. The UK is one of the key focuses for our firm."
There have been a range of discussions around the expansion for several months, he said, adding that the names of those joining the firm in the offices should start to be unveiled in a matter of weeks.
"We will be investing in our brand and image across the UK," he said.
The bank will continue to focus on those in the higher reaches of the high net worth bracket and ultra-high net worth categories; it will be prepared to consider, where appropriate, clients below that level, Durlacher continued.
Durlacher noted the irony of a Europe-headquartered bank engaging in regional UK expansion when some continental European banks have talked of downsizing amid the Brexit uncertainties. However, he pointed out that in certain respects Julius Baer is a less complex organisation than some of the banks in question.
The third-largest wealth management house in Switzerland as well as a significant player in regions such as Asia, Julius Baer had SFr355 billion ($366 billion) of assets under management as at the end of June.