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UBP Targets Japan

Amanda Cheesley Deputy Editor 26 May 2023

UBP Targets Japan

The Swiss private banking group strengthens its presence in Japan, as part of its expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.

Union Bancaire Privée this week announced that it has acquired 100 per cent of the shares issued by Angel Japan Asset Management, a Tokyo-based independent investment advisor specialising in the Japanese small-cap equities space. 

The transaction, which will see UBP strengthen its presence in Japan, demonstrates the firm’s ambitions to expand its footprint in Asia-Pacific. Only recently, the Swiss private banking group made a number of senior changes in Hong Kong and Singapore whilst firms, such as French-based asset manager Carmignac, are increasingly optimistic about investment opportunities in Japan, making it a timely acquisition. See here.

Since 2005, UBP has had a presence in Tokyo, operating through UBP Investments, which provides asset management services covering traditional assets and alternative investments to clients based in Japan, as well as to global investors seeking to build Japanese exposure.

Founded in 2001 and led by Hirotaka Usami, Angel Japan AM comprises five seasoned investment professionals including four portfolio managers with an average of 24 years’ experience, the firm said in a statement. It currently manages three strategies (IPO, New Growth and Steady Growth) with total assets under advisory of $1.2 billion.

This acquisition came on the back of a partnership between UBP and Angel Japan AM. Since 2018, Angel Japan AM has been advising UBP Investments Co., Ltd, the entity managing the entity managing UBP’s Japanese small-cap equities strategy, which has generated attractive performances since inception and outperformed its benchmark.

Following the transfer of ownership, Hirotaka Usami will become chairman of a newly-created board of directors at Angel Japan AM, while Ryota Bando, the current COO, will be appointed CEO, the firm continued. All current employees of Angel Japan AM are expected to remain with it. Other than the changes in its governance structure and directors, there will be no change to Angel Japan AM’s current investment process, investment philosophy, investment style and investment team.

Nicolas Faller, co-CEO Asset Management and head of institutional clients at UBP, said: “The acquisition of Angel Japan AM underscores UBP’s high conviction on the investment opportunities in the global small-cap equity segment, notably in Japan, and as to the team’s unique ability to seize them.” 

“Taking on the ownership of Angel Japan AM will not only broaden our distribution channels to onshore Japanese clients, but will also strengthen our in-house capabilities and value proposition to serve our offshore clients even better,” he continued.

Hirotaka Usami, representative director and founder of Angel Japan AM, added: “We are confident that the on-the-ground and in-depth insights we bring to UBP will create long-term value for our clients, and support UBP’s growth ambitions in Japan and internationally. The anticipated success of this new tie-up is built on the solidity of our partnership over the past five years.”

Based in Geneva, UBP has a growing presence in Asia, with a Tier 1 ratio of 26.7 per cent; it specialises in wealth management for both private and institutional clients. See other articles about the private bank here.

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