Awards for Distinction 2011 – Boutique


APB-AFD-BestPrivateBankBoutique

Julius Baer

Dr. Thomas Meier

Dr. Thomas Meier

Chief Executive Officer, Asia
Julius Baer

The definition of a boutique bank is a topic of much debate in our industry – whilst some believe a bank is boutique depending on the size of its assets under management, others use a bank’s business model or headcount as a benchmark. For the purpose of this award, Asian Private Banker defines boutique banks as those whose sole core business activity is wealth management.

Julius Baer is the winner of this year’s award and is fully justified in its motto: “Big enough to matter, small enough to care.” As the only private bank to be awarded a QFII license from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), Julius Baer has quickly distinguished itself as a boutique bank with the ability to invest directly onshore in China. This is a prime example of how the bank differentiates itself from its boutique peers when offering unique opportunities to its clients.

In 2011, Julius Baer also announced a strategic collaboration agreement with Macquarie Group for private and investment banking opportunities in North and South East Asia. Within the agreement Julius Baer will refer clients’ investment banking transactions to Macquarie, while maintaining its boutique status, without assuming balance sheet risk. “Investment banking was a missing piece in our service offering and our strategic partnership with Macquarie allows us to refer clients with corporate and investment banking needs without on-boarding the risks associated with the investment banking business,” says Dr Thomas Meier, chief executive officer Asia and member of the executive board at Julius Baer.

Macquarie will refer clients who require private banking services to Julius Baer and more of Macquarie’s investment banking products will be available to Julius Baer’s clients in Asia within the framework of Julius Baer’s open architecture platform. Additionally, Julius Baer also acquired Macquarie’s Asian private wealth business which comprises offices in Hong Kong and Singapore and US$1 billion in client assets.

2011 has by no means been easy for boutique banks – they have had to deal with dwindling investment appetite and rising costs without any of the advantages of scale that the larger banks are often able to deploy. Despite the challenges, Julius Baer has expanded the breadth of services it can offer to its clients and re-iterated its commitment to Asia as its “second home.”