Awards for Distinction 2019 – Best Private Bank – Discretionary Portfolio Management

2019 Winners

Best Private Bank – Discretionary Portfolio Management

Julius Baer

Bhaskar Laxminarayan
chief investment officer and head investment management Asia, Bank Julius Baer

DPM has always been a core offering at Bank Julius Baer. A few years ago there was a concerted effort to further enhance the product map and fine tune the key service level requirements for discretionary solutions in Asia.

We set about building a team which has almost tripled in size in Asia over the past three years. An experienced team, a good and consistent track record, and a solution set that catered to regional needs ensured consistent appeal and success with our clients.

In particular, we are most proud of how we have come to be seen as reliable partners for all those we serve. Be it working in step with each other or providing the necessary backup and sharing of experiences with younger members — the feeling of family is evident everywhere in the team. What better trait to aspire for when all we do is centred at serving family wealth.

Dented risk sentiment with rising geopolitical tensions and surging recession fears in 2019 made most private banking clients, who took profits or sat on the sidelines, miss the rally. When ‘wait and see’ became the new normal for the industry, few private banks were able to gather strong asset inflows of the same magnitude as Julius Baer, which stood at the frontier, showcasing its discipline and capability in managing assets in both resilient and volatile markets.From single line security mandates to fund of funds, the record high new assets that the bank attracted spread across all the major asset classes and strategies — equity, bond, alternatives and multi-asset mandates — in stark contrast with the vast majority of its competitors that largely relied on fixed income to bring in assets.

Following an active judgemental approach to investing, backed by a systematic use of proprietary quantitative models and a risk management process, Julius Baer identified market drivers at every point in time, taking advantage of shorter term opportunities while capitalising on structural trends.

Worth highlighting, one of the recommended strategies which gained tremendous traction in 2019 was the Dynamic Asset Allocation portfolio (an ETF-based multi-asset strategy), directly managed and overseen by the bank’s global CIO Yves Bonzon. An unconstrained approach, which allows the maximum cash allocation to go to 100%, enabled the mandate to exhibit its complete flexibility in any market condition, and as a result of an overweight in cash in 4Q2018, the multi-asset mandate recorded only a low single-digit loss when a significant downturn of both equity and fixed income markets made peers take a strong hit in the same period.

Another highlight is the bank’s actively managed certificate-based fixed maturity portfolio (FMP) managed by the Asian Investment Team, which currently also manages the flagship Asia Fixed Income dynamic strategy. When FMPs evolved into a new battleground for banks and asset managers, time to market became a competitive edge for the industry, since speed is of the essence in capturing windows of higher yield opportunities. Jointly launched by the bank’s discretionary team and structured products desk, the FMP mandate managed to lock in an attractive yield in early 2019 and gather almost half a billion USD from its Asian clients in just four weeks.

This all led to the clients having a superior customer experience. They also kept topping up their mandates and, as a result, the bank gathered a historical record high in DPM inflows in 2019, bringing Julius Baer’s discretionary asset penetration to a new level.

In a market populated by fancy new mandates, Julius Baer stuck to core building blocks with an extremely disciplined approach, which gained it a tremendous amount of client trust and positive feedback. As a result, the bank is the winner of Asian Private Banker’s Best Private Bank – Discretionary Portfolio Management for 2019.