A survey of trends and developments in the global market, highlighting major banks, wealth managers, and hiring news.
Seven Investment Management (7IM) has cut fees for investors with larger sums on its platform to make it one of the most competitively priced platforms for HNW clients and families. Investors with balances between £2mn and £5mn will see their fees fall from 0.15% to 0.08%, while those with more than £5mn will see fees drop from 0.15% to 0.05%. This will apply to both existing and new business.
Ali Jamal, former Managing Director and Head of Key Clients Emerging Markets at Julius Baer, has launched a new Multi-Family Office called Azura, with offices in Monaco and London. Asian offices are expected to be launched in the second half of 2019. Azura already has $2bn in AuM - a record-breaking number for a new MFO - and caters to the global UHNW and mega-wealthy community, both from developed and emerging markets. Billed as a “21st century merchant bank”, the firm takes full care of client requirements, offering family office and investment advisory services, as well as access to alternative investment (private equity and club deals) and corporate finance solutions. Additionally, it will offer other services such as wealth planning, concierge, trust and estate services.
Ali Jamal’s partners at the new venture are Karim Lari, who is credited with co-founding the modelling and analytics group at Credit Suisse, as well as Ben Leung, former head of trading and macro research at Broadpoint Asset Management and a Credit Suisse alumnus. Azura has also secured further senior bankers to their business who come from top-tier private banks, though details are yet to be announced.
Prior to setting up Azura, Ali Jamal spent six years with Julius Baer, where he and his immediate team were amongst the best-performing teams in the emerging markets, a success underpinned by long-term client relationships. Previously, he was with Credit Suisse and BSI. He is a former officer in the Kuwaiti army.
Bank of Singapore has officially opened a subsidiary in Luxembourg, called BOS Wealth Management Europe, as a base to cater to European clients. The bank took office space in Luxembourg in March last year and won a licence in July. It is led by Anthony Simcic (ex HSBC Private Bank). The bank had previously served European clients through the London office of parent company OCBC and its Singaporean headquarters. London is now a branch of the Luxembourg entity, led by Liz Bottomley, ensuring that the bank can continue to sell services across the EU in case of a hard Brexit.
Bank of Singapore is set to expand into Malaysia following its deal to acquire Pacific Mutual Fund Bhd, an investment firm in the Southeast Asian nation, for RM35.6mil (US$8.5mil). The transaction will allow the bank to deepen its access to rich Malaysians, whose wealth grew more than 7% to US$469bn in 2017, according to a report published last year by Capgemini.
Swiss bank Bellevue is acquiring Adbodmer, a boutique specializing in mid-cap mergers and acquisitions, run by Adriana Ospel-Bodmer, wife of former UBS Chairman Marcel Ospel. Adbodmer will continue as an independently run subsidiary of the Swiss bank. With the acquisition, Bellevue aims to diversify its revenue into a wealth management niche. Ospel-Bodmer will take a prominent role at Bellevue and her Adbodmer partner, Jan Kollros, will also remain with Bellevue following the deal. He is to join the bank’s top management and run the private equity unit.
Bellevue Group has confirmed it is talking to potential buyer as it is thinking of selling its banking unit, whilst the group is reviewing various strategic options for the bank. It is understood that KBL European Private Bankers recently submitted a non-binding offer to purchase the unit.
Brewin Dolphin has announced its expansion in Bath, UK, with the acquisition of the assets of Epoch Wealth Management, an IFA firm based in Bath. After the deal completes, Managing Partner Barry Newbury and his 37 colleagues from the financial planning firm will transfer to Brewin Dolphin along with the firm’s clients. This increases Brewin Dolphin’s footprint to 31 offices.
The firm has also sealed a €44 million (£37 million) deal to buy Investec’s Republic of Ireland wealth business. Headquartered in Dublin, Investec Capital & Investments (ICI) controls €2.9 billion in assets and will be combined with Brewin’s existing Irish business. Following the merger, Brewin will rise to the top three wealth managers in Ireland, with €4.6 billion in assets under management, overseen by a 33-strong investment team covering around 5,000 client relationships. The deal is boosting Brewin Dolphin’s presence in Ireland, following its 2011 purchase of Dublin-based Tilman Asset Management. Total funds under management rose to £42.4 billion at Q1 2019.
Brown Shipley has acquired NW Brown & Co, a Cambridge-based firm with £1 billion in assets, as well as an additional office in Norwich, in a bid to boost its footprint in the region. The acquisition will bring Brown Shipley’s total assets under management to £9 billion. NW Brown Chief Executive Oliver Phillips will continue to lead the business post-acquisition, while the firm’s 74 employees will move to Brown Shipley. The price paid for the business was not disclosed.
The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Ltd., an offshore bank and trust company headquartered in Bermuda with significant operations in the Cayman Islands and Channel Islands, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the banking business of ABN AMRO Channel Islands through its wholly owned subsidiary Butterfield Bank Guernsey. The aggregate purchase price is approximately £161 million (US$208 million) in cash, subject to adjustments. With a presence in Guernsey for over 35 years, ABN AMRO Channel Islands offers banking, investment management and custody to trusts, private clients, and funds, with £2.9 billion in deposits and £3.5 billion in assets under management and custody at the end of 2018.
Global asset manager Schroders has joined forces with Citi to unveil a digital tool for the bank’s wealth management clients across EMEA and Asia. InvestIQ was developed by Schroders alongside behavioural scientists and will soon be available to Citi’s clients with assets around $100,000 up to $10m in Singapore, Malaysia, UAE, the UK, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Poland, with more Asian locations being rolled out in the second half of 2019. The tool will enable investors to explore the impact of emotions in investment decision-making, providing them with strong educational content to help them set proper investment goals. The tool combines the science of behavioural finance and investment education, enabling Citi’s clients to better understand how their personality could impact their investments.
An external asset manager founded in 1974 with offices in Lugano, Zurich and Geneva, Colombo Wealth Management has merged with Lugano-based boutique Heron Asset Management to create Colombo Wealth. The merger will combine individual portfolio management, family office services, fund and asset management services, and will be led by Dario Colombo, CEO of Colombo Wealth Management. Alberto Tocchio, CEO and CIO of Heron Asset Management, will be CIO of the new entity.
Credit Suisse Group has been granted a banking license in Saudi Arabia, approved in April by the Council of Ministers led by Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan. The bank joins competitors like Citi, JP Morgan and HSBC doing business in the richest Middle Eastern economy. The move comes after CEO Tidjane Thiam travelled personally to Saudi Arabia to file the application in July 2018.
In Hong Kong, Credit Suisse has established a unit focusing on family office services for clients in Greater China, due to the increasing demand by wealthy Asians seeking to set up private investment vehicles and plan family succession. The bank has appointed Tan Mae Shen, senior specialist, family office services Asia-Pacific with Credit Suisse since 2017, as head of the new wealth planning services unit.
Credit Suisse is also upgrading its services for external asset managers in Asia by collaborating with Hong Kong-based Privé Technologies, a digital wealth management solutions platform provider for financial institutions. The platform provides upgrades in content generation, risk profiling and suitability, order management and execution capabilities. This builds on the 2017 partnership with fintech company Canopy to make an automated account aggregation platform and reporting solution accessible to clients.
Swiss non-governmental organization Public Eye recently filed a criminal complaint against Credit Suisse over million-dollar tuna bonds in Mozambique, which follows a lawsuit filed by the South African nation against the Zurich-based bank last month. The country defaulted last year, after it emerged that some funds intended for tuna-fishing boats allegedly went towards military equipment instead. The Swiss bank denies knowing of any wrongdoing in the scandal.
Deutsche Bank Wealth Management is launching a new unit aimed at UHNWIs and family office clients, called Institutional Wealth Partners (IWP), with the aim to offer wealthy clients various “institutional quality” services, including tailored lending, investing and corporate finance. IWP will be available to clients around the world. The team is led globally by Todd Stevens, with Dan Kaiser serving as the head for the Americas. Deutsche Bank hired Alan Brody from JP Morgan to serve as head of IWP Americas’ investments.
In the UK, the bank has rolled out new residential mortgages for private banking clients, available for those who want to borrow £3 million ($3.8 million) or more for mortgages in the UK. It will later be available in nine other jurisdictions including France, Italy and Spain. The service covers mortgage refinancing and equity release, as well as preparations for dry lending, offering large mortgages without requiring assets under management for clients wishing to build a wider wealth management relationship.
The bank’s Swiss branch has started automating some front-office banking tasks on top of its global back-office automation project, hoping to free up more of its RMs’ time by relieving them of daily paperwork and administrative work. The automation includes sending account statements to clients as well as digitally consolidating some 150 different risk control reports.
In Asia, Deutsche Bank has rolled out dbXpert, a wealth advisory offering that “bridges the gap between transactional advisory and wealth discretionary mandates” by giving clients control over their portfolios while charging a fixed fee for investments. It provides clients with an asset allocation framework, scenario analyses and health checks for their portfolios. The platform will be available to clients in Hong Kong and Singapore with a minimum portfolio of $2.2mn.
Dolfin has completed the acquisition of Falcon Private Wealth in the UK (London office). The deal added 300 clients worth $800mn in assets to Dolfin, increasing the firm’s total assets to more than $3bn. The sale follows a number of exits that Falcon UK suffered in 2018, including that of long-standing senior banker Bryan Wang, who left as a Managing Director & Head of Greater China for J. Safra Sarasin in London. Fourteen Falcon employees, including senior wealth managers, have moved to Dolfin as part of the deal.
Edmond de Rothschild has announced a new private equity fund for energy and environment, launched in partnership with Pearl Advisory. Called Pearl Infrastructure Capital SCA, the investment strategy will have a positive environmental impact in European environmental infrastructures, aiming to face the increased financing needs of industrialists and local authorities to modernize old infrastructures and meet growing environmental limitations. The fund receives support from two strategic investors, the European Investment Bank (under the “Juncker Plan”) and Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, each worth €30 million, along with other French institutional investors and the Edmond de Rothschild Group. The fund is aiming for a total commitment of €250mn raised by the end of the year.
As part of its 2019 - 2022 strategic plan, EFG International is enhancing its global offering for External Asset Manager clients, expanding its existing services to include a new multi-custody platform launching in Q3 2019. The platform is being developed with AM-One AG, a subsidiary of fintech company Expersoft Systems AG, and will provide EAMs with an automated custodian data feed from all EFG booking centres as well as access to the bank’s extensive investment solutions service and product offering.
Falcon Private Bank’s losses have deepened in the last year, according to its reports. Its annual loss stood at CHF 31.8 million ($31.5 million), a further CHF 3.4 million on the year, representing the third net loss in a row for a bank which was hit hard in 2016 by the 1MDB scandal. Falcon’s revenues continued to drop, while its assets fell below CHF 10 billion, due to client withdrawals and market swings. The bank is also behind on cost-cutting and continues to suffer exits of private bankers through to mid-2019. With CEO Martin Keller, the bank tried to differentiate itself by reinforcing its crypto offering and allowing clients to transfer cryptocurrencies to and from wallets held directly at the bank and convert their crypto holdings into fiat. Keller wants to hire as many as 20 new private bankers this year, although in current conditions it may be quite a challenge.
UK advisory firm Foster Denovo has entered an agreement to acquire London & Capital’s UK wealth business. London & Capital has £3 billion in assets under management and offers a range of wealth and asset management services to private and institutional clients. The value of the transaction and amount of assets acquired by Foster Denovo have not been disclosed. Two financial advisers will move across as part of the deal, and the servicing of client portfolios will also be transferred to Foster Denovo. The advice business said there would not be any immediate change to clients’ portfolios or their charges as a result of the acquisition.
Canadian private equity firm Onex has agreed to take over 10% of Toronto-based wealth management firm Gluskin Sheff + Associates for nearly US$331.4m. Gluskin Sheff, set up in 1984, caters to HNW private clients as well as institutional investors. According to Onex chairman and CEO Gerry Schwartz, by combining Gluskin Sheff’s public securities investing platforms with Onex’ private equity and private debt platforms, the clients of both firms will have greater investment options. Gluskin Sheff will retain its brand and management team following the acquisition.
Goldman Sachs, which currently works with UHNW and mega-wealthy individuals with over $25 million in net worth, is acquiring United Capital in a bid to reach more HNW individuals in the US, with $1 million to $15 million in assets. The purchase price is set at $750 million in cash, with the acquisition scheduled to complete in Q3 2019. United Capital has more than 220 advisers and $25 billion in assets under management. It also offers advisers a digital platform, FinLife CX. The Goldman Sachs PWM group manages $427 billion.
In Europe, the bank is keen to get a larger share of the wealth management segment, currently at a single digit. Goldman remains open to acquisitions, should there be a suitable match to build upon its current network of 13 offices providing wealth management services in the region.
Hampden & Co, a UK private bank that started operations in 2015 with offices in London and Edinburgh, raised £9.8 million from prior investors in April following a £15 million funding round last year. The bank recorded £5.6 million in losses in 2018, following a £6.4 million loss in the previous year, though it stated that “losses are entirely in accordance with the business plan and are to be expected by a new bank”. The bank will soon launch a mobile banking interface.
Investec has launched a new initiative to connect wealthy clients, appointing Deborah Sayagh to the newly created role of Head of Strategic Partner Relationships, with the aim of creating a platform to link clients to each other and initiate wealth creation opportunities. The bank’s clients typically have an income of over £300,000 and assets of £3 million. In her new role, Sayagh will also connect clients with third-party specialists and experts across Investec’s wider international group.
J. Safra Sarasin is buying Lombard Odier’s private banking business in Gibraltar, which includes transferring clients and their relationship managers to J. Safra Sarasin, which has been operating in Gibraltar since 2001. It also expanded in 2016, when it acquired Credit Suisse’s operations in Monaco and Gibraltar. Financial details have not yet been disclosed. J. Safra Sarasin said it was committed to Gibraltar as a financial centre, while Lombard Odier said the sale was in the best interest of clients now able to join a franchise for which Gibraltar was a strategic market. The deal is set to close by mid-year pending regulatory approval.
Julius Baer International has officially opened a Belfast office at Bedford House, making it the first Swiss business to set down roots in Northern Ireland. This is the company’s fifth office in the UK and comes 20 years after it launched its first Irish operation in Dublin. The office is headed by Jonathan Dobbin, former Barclays employee, who hired an initial team of two relationship managers and a senior wealth planner.
The bank also expanded its onshore presence in Spain, having opened an office in Barcelona following the launch of its Madrid office in 2013, which now employs a 60-member team. With the new office, the bank aims to lure wealthy Catalans. It has appointed four senior private bankers to the new office, who come from UBS and Credit Suisse.
In Italy, the bank has taken a change of strategy and has prepared to sell asset management company Kairos, after having raised its stake in the business to 100% in January 2018. Sources advise that two bidders are still in the game: US private equity company Ta Associates and Italy’s Mediobanca. It is understood the asking price for Kairos is €400mn for approximately €10bn in assets under management.
Munich-based private bank Merkur is in discussions with Bankhaus Schilling to take over its banking business headquartered in Hammelburg, Germany. Merkur, founded in 1959, is an owner-managed private bank active in the business areas of financing and investments. With this move, the bank intends to pursue its onshore growth strategy in Germany. Details of the transaction are yet to be disclosed, though it is understood that fundamental cornerstones have been agreed by both parties.
Genevan private bank Mirabaud made a profit of CHF 59.6 million in 2018, up 47% from the previous year, while revenues increased 12% to CHF 342.3 million, signalling growth for the institution. The bank continued to internationalize its business last year and is preparing to open business in Uruguay and Brazil, where it acquired an asset management firm last December. Mirabaud also plans to open a branch in Abu Dhabi.
Mirabaud Asset Management recently announced a collaboration with CONINCO Explorers in Finance, a Swiss leader in sustainable investment solutions, to take a stronger, more proactive engagement approach to socially responsible investing. Mirabaud Asset Management will bring stock-picking expertise to investors, while CONINCO will take the engagement lead with the underlying companies in the portfolio, showing them the long-term benefits they can unlock while improving their ESG practices.
Morgan Stanley attracted a few relationship managers to its Asian offices over the first half of the year, having hired bankers from Julius Baer in Hong Kong. The bank plans to hire 50 relationship managers in Singapore and Hong Kong over the next three years, pushing through the Chinese and Southeast Asian wealthy community. After exiting its European wealth business in 2014, the bank’s international appetite has mainly been geared towards Asia.
Morgan Stanley is planning to shut down its Russian banking business in Q1 2020 due to US and European Union sanctions imposed since 2014, which have made it hard for Russian businesses to access international capital markets. Morgan Stanley is planning to keep a consulting business in the country, which will not require a license.
According to Q1 2019 results, the bank increased its wealth assets under management by 4% in the past year, with client assets rising to $2.48 trillion as of March 31, up from $2.37 trillion a year earlier.
Pictet has detailed plans to hire more bankers in its Asian hubs to grow the firm’s business in the region. Under the guidance of Partner Boris Collardi, the bank is planning to expand its Hong Kong office to serve and acquire more clients from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as hire in Singapore to lure more Southeast Asian clients, mainly Indonesians. Pictet currently employs 52 bankers in the region.
Rockefeller Global Family Office announced the opening of an office in Los Angeles (CA) to serve individuals and families in Southern California. Nathan Crair will join the Rockefeller Global Family Office from Merrill Lynch as a Managing Director, with responsibility for recruiting and managing Private Wealth Advisors in the region. The new office will bring the Rockefeller Global Family Office network to 14. Rockefeller is a privately owned financial services firm offering global family office, asset management and strategic advisory services to UHNW individuals and families, institutions and corporations.
Multi-family office Sandaire has launched a dedicated private equity business, Sandaire Private Equity, headed by Michael Mowlem, who joins the firm as a Managing Director from LGV Capital. The proposition was developed to broaden the offering to Sandaire’s clients and will provide the opportunity to invest in unquoted businesses across the spectrum of growth to buyout, through funds, co-investments, direct and underwriting investments.
The firm has also launched Sandaire Real Eastate, a further new offering dedicated to providing strategic portfolio, transaction and asset management of properties and portfolios to new and existing clients. The international multi-family office recently expanded its offering with the launch of a corporate finance business as well. Sandaire appointed Chris Horler from private bank Arbuthnot Latham and Robert Stokeley from LSH Investment Management to run the real estate business.
Sanlam UK is acquiring Thesis Asset Management, a move that will boost its UK private client discretionary assets under management to £4.2bn. Under the deal, Thesis’ private client business, distribution network, direct support teams and Pallant, its financial planning business, will operate under the Sanlam UK brand, subject to regulatory approval. The deal does not include the Tutman business, its fund administration arm. With a UK-centric strategy, Sanlam has been in an acquisition mood, having recently acquired Newcastle-based Blackett Walker in 2019 and Yorkshire-based financial planner Grennan Advisors in 2018. In total, Sanlam UK manages £12bn in assets under management or influence, including £2bn for its wealth planning business and £2.7bn for its discretionary fund management business.
More than 500 Lloyds and Schroders employees have transferred over to the new financial planning venture Schroders Personal Wealth. Schroders confirmed that its personal wealth business will be available to current Lloyds customers from this summer and to the wider market later in 2019. Current clients will remain with their existing personal wealth advisers. Schroders also confirmed the service will offer ongoing advice. All clients and advisers will migrate to its Benchmark Fusion platform from July. It has been confirmed that clients wanting access to Schroders Personal Wealth would need to have a minimum of £100,000 investable assets. Lloyds owns 50.1% of the joint venture, with Schroders owning the remaining 49.9%.
Société Générale Bank & Trust has expanded its private banking business in Germany, having recently opened a representative office in Frankfurt. The team will be led by Petra Mennong, who was head of the Frankfurt office for online asset management firm LIQID and is a UBS, Vontobel and Safra Sarasin alumna. This follows a European onshore expansion strategy, succeeding the opening of a representative office in Milan in 2017.
Standard Chartered agreed to a $1.1 billion fine after a US criminal investigation found it had been conducting business with people linked to Iran and other nations, including Sudan and Cuba, which had been outlawed. It could also face a new $1.2 billion fine for breaking US sanctions against Iran after a civil case was filed by whistle-blowers.
The bank has partnered with Dutch asset management firm Robeco to train staff in ESG skills through the rollout of its Robeco Sustainability Investing Essentials to its employees in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and the UK. This includes a series of e-learning modules that gives background information and insights on areas such as sustainable investing, driven by StanChart’s clients who are seen to be looking to get more involved in sustainable investing.
St. James’s Place has broken the £100bn mark, as its funds under management totalled £103.5bn at the end of the first quarter of 2019, increasing by 8% from £89.91bn in the previous year. North American equities accounted for £21.6bn, while UK equities for £18.7bn. Fixed interest, European equities and Asia Pacific equities added £18.5bn, £11.3bn, and £10.8bn in funds respectively, while alternative assets accounted for £8.1bn of funds. The firm has been dominating the mass-affluent wealth management market in the UK in recent years, which Schroders and Lloyds’ new joint venture may challenge.
Succession Wealth, a UK-based independent wealth manager set up in 2009, has taken its assets under management past the £8bn mark with the acquisition of six financial advice businesses in Scotland, the west of England and Buckinghamshire, bringing 16 financial planners and 2,100 clients to the wealth management and financial planning group along with £800m AUM. The acquired firms are: Ellaby Pollard in Bristol, Killermont Investments in Glasgow, Mackenzie Investment Strategies in Inverness, Warwick Butchart Associates in Cheltenham, Winter Financial Services in Marlow, and a second Glasgow business where the deal remains subject to regulatory approval. Succession was set up in 2009.
Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) has partnered with Rothschild & Co to launch an equity fund for both private and institutional clients in order to diversify their portfolios in the private equity market. UBP will benefit from Rothschild & Co’s experience in the space, and the new strategy developed through the partnership will give UBP’s clients access to a diversified portfolio of small and medium-sized companies through four private equity approaches (Primary, Direct Secondary, Late Primary, and Direct). The new fund will be managed by Rothschild & Co, with the experts of UBP’s Direct Investments Group team acting as investment advisors. This builds on a cooperation with private equity firm Partners Group, established in 2017, and the acquisition of independent wealth manager ACPI in 2018, which give UBP’s clients a diversified range of private debt solutions.
UBS is launching a new venture in the US that will merge capital markets teams across wealth management and the investment bank, while creating a single trading platform for all clients in the Americas. The new venture will be supervised by Mark Sanborn, head of investment platforms and solutions for wealth management in the Americas; Reinhardt Olsen, Americas equities chief; and Dylan Roy, head of Americas foreign exchange, rates and credit.
The bank has signed a strategic wealth management partnership with Japanese banking group Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings (Sumi Trust Holdings) to form a joint venture. Around 51% of the JV will be owned by UBS and the other 49% by Sumi Trust Holdings. It will open UBS clients to a full range of Japanese real estate and trust services, while Sumi Trust Holdings’ clients will be able to access UBS’s securities trading, research, and advisory capabilities.
UBS Group’s profits dropped 27% for the first quarter to $1.1 billion, from $1.6 billion the year before, as revenue from its investment bank tumbled, its wealth arm struggled, and a tax credit fell away. A 6.5% percent cut in spending wasn’t enough to offset a 16% tumble in revenue. At the private bank, profits dropped by 22%, mainly due to challenging market conditions and a drop in commissions due to less trading activity. Despite that, clients brought $22.3 billion (4% growth) in new assets to the wealth arm, with the bulk coming from Asia, mainly China.
Overall, UBS has plans to cut a further $300 million in spending, mainly through stretching out technology projects, slowing hiring, reducing contractors, and pruning travel and entertainment costs.
Swiss asset manager Unigestion, currently managing $24bn in assets under management through nine offices globally, is planning a push into the UK wealth management space. It has until recently confined itself to serving the UK’s institutional market, with a primary focus on pension funds and local authorities, but saw its first fund enter the Investment Association (IA) universe in May. Its Uni-Global Cross Asset Navigator fund is now the second best-performing fund in the IA Targeted Absolute Return (TAR) sector over a three-year period, returning 30.9%.
United Overseas Bank Malaysia has launched a three-pillar, Shariah-compliant wealth management solution mainly targeted at affluent clients and an increased demand for this type of investment. It comprises Shariah-compliant savings and fixed deposit accounts, Takaful wealth protection plans, as well as global and domestic Islamic unit trust investments. These solutions have also been designed for customers who prioritise ethical and socially responsible investing.
Vontobel has completed the acquisition of Lombard Odier’s US-based private client portfolio, through which CHF 730mn of assets under management and two senior relationship managers have been transferred to Vontobel Swiss Wealth Advisors (VSWA), an SEC-registered subsidiary of Vontobel. VSWA has also taken over all of Lombard Odier’s private clients who opted to switch from their previous brokerage mandate to an advisory or wealth management relationship as part of the transaction. Financial details have not been disclosed.
In total, Vontobel now manages around CHF4.5bn of assets for North American wealth management clients. The two banks have also entered into a cooperation agreement, under which Lombard Odier will recommend VSWA as the preferred partner for private clients based in the US.
The bank is expanding its coverage of Latin America, with special interest in Mexico and Brazil. It is looking to hire more relationship managers to cover these markets from its Zurich office in 2019, as well as evaluating the opening of a representative office in Mexico.
Swiss President Ueli Maurer recently paid a visit to China, including the headquarters of China Construction Bank (CCB). On that occasion, together with Herbert J. Scheidt, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vontobel and the Swiss delegation, CCB and Vontobel launched a financial product in Beijing as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), tracking stock performances of companies that are likely to benefit most from the BRI.
Neil Woodford has been at the centre of attention in the UK over the past couple of months, after taking the extreme measure to suspend dealing in his flagship equity income fund on June 3 following a notice from Kent County Council to withdraw its £250mn investment. This was a massive blow for the fund, which suffered a £4.3bn outflow, shrinking to £3.7bn at the time of the suspension. Woodford took this measure to “protect investors and give it time to sell off investments, including in private companies”.