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Remaining at the forefront of an industry requires more than a fair idea of the path forward. Thanks to a number of visionary decisions, Julius Baer successfully transformed the local family business into the international reference in wealth management.

Raymond Bär

The early years

Recognising the importance of Zurich as a centre for international trade, Julius Baer, founder and namesake of the Group, opened shop on Zurich’s famous Bahnhofstrasse in the 1890s. What initially started as a small bureau de change rapidly expanded into a wealth management, securities and FX trading company – business activities that remain at the core of the Julius Baer Group until today.

Growing the business

Parallel to the strong economic growth and technological progress after World War II, the company – then a partnership comprising of an increasing number of Baer family members – began expanding internationally in 1940 and thus laid the first building blocks of today’s global business. The need to finance this rapid growth drove Julius Baer to become the first Swiss private bank to go public in 1980.

Gearing up

The majority of the voting rights from the initial public offering remained within the Baer family pool, thus ensuring full control of the Group. This only changed at the beginning of 2005 with the introduction of the ’one share, one vote’ principle. This new financial leeway was utilised in the same year for the acquisition of three private banks and a specialised asset manager, which together were even larger in size than Julius Baer itself. Exploiting this massively increased scale, Julius Baer started expanding rapidly into global growth markets, particularly Asia, and achieved strong growth momentum in the years that followed.

Recalibration

The 2008 credit crisis ushered in a fundamentally changed business environment, leading Julius Baer to take a rather unorthodox step. By separating the Group’s asset management and private client businesses in October 2009, each individual business was provided with precious strategic flexibility in the early stage of this new cycle. The wealth management business became the independent Julius Baer Group Ltd. and began systematically broadening its international presence and specialised offering via acquisitions and a number of strategic cooperation agreements around the globe.

Quantum leap

In August 2012, Julius Baer initiated the next phase of its growth by acquiring Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) business outside the US. IWM provided a rare opportunity to substantially increase the Group’s footprint in established markets, new markets, and in growth regions. This growth enabled the Group to further strengthen its leading position in a highly competitive industry, to provide clients with an unparalleled product and services offering, and to tackle any future challenges from a position of strength as the international reference in wealth management.

Steady as she goes

Acknowledging the challenges evident at the outset of a fresh decade, Julius Baer presented an update and refinement of its strategy for the medium and longer term at the beginning of 2020. Remaining true the Group’s wealth management focus and business model, the updated strategy aims at sharpening the Group’s value proposition for sophisticated high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, accelerating the investments in human advice and technology, and shifting to sustainable profit growth. In all we do, we are inspired by our purpose: creating value beyond wealth.

“If contact between people is based on trust and absolute integrity, then it is of benefit for both sides.” Julius Baer, Founder

1857

Birth of Julius (Isaac) Baer

Born in Heidelsheim in the Grand Duchy of Baden on 2 January. At birth named Isaac (changed to Julius in 1897).

1890

Establishment of Hirschhorn & Grob

Establishment of the partnership Hirschhorn & Grob, the forerunner of Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd., on 17 October. Its registered office is located at Bahnhofstrasse 85 in Zurich.

1896

Hirschhorn, Uhl & Baer

Julius Baer devient membre de Hirschhorn & Grob. La société est dissoute et un nouveau partenariat est établi sous le nom de Hirschhorn, Uhl & Baer.

1901

Julius Baer & Co.

The firm is dissolved after the death of Ludwig Hirschhorn. On 23 April, all the assets and liabilities are taken over by Julius Baer & Co., a limited partnership of which Julius Baer is the general partner.

Member of the Zurich Stock Exchange

Julius Baer & Co. is licensed as a stockbroker by the government of the Canton of Zurich and becomes a member of the Zurich Stock Exchange on 1 May.

1918

First issue of “Wochenbericht”

On 7 March, Julius Baer & Co. publishes the first issue of the "Wochenbericht", a publication in German. It is intended mainly for banks and explains issues in the worldwide money and foreign-exchange markets. Over the course of time, its coverage is extended to independent reporting of political and economic events. It enjoys a high reputation among its readers in Switzerland and abroad. The publication is discontinued with the last edition in December 2005 and no. 3943 in total.

1924

Purchase Bahnhofstrasse 36

The Bank purchases the property at Bahnhofstrasse 36 (which until 1922 was the seat of the Swiss National Bank) on 14 March. In the following year, it becomes the Bank's place of business, and it has been the Headquarters of the Group since then.

1934

Swiss Private Bankers Association

On 1 January, the Swiss Private Bankers Association is founded. Walter J. Baer is one of the founding members.

1940

Offices at Wall Street

Establishment of the Baer Custodian Corporation with offices at Wall Street 67 in New York on 27 November (the first Julius Baer company to be established abroad).

1965

75th anniversary

On 25 September, the Bank celebrates its 75th year of operations. Establishment of the Julius Baer Foundation for the promotion of the arts and support of academic endeavours on 10 December. Today, the foundation concentrates on the areas of Wealth Inequality and Solutions Replacing Plastics.

1968

Establishment of Julius Baer Intl. Ltd.

On 29 March, Julius Baer International Ltd. in London, the first Julius Baer company in the United Kingdom, is established.

1970

First Swiss investment fund

Launch of Baerbond, Julius Baer’s first Swiss investment fund, on 10 March.

1974

Establishment of the Holding

On 27 November, Julius Baer & Co. (Holding) Ltd. is established. All of the assets and liabilities of Julius Baer & Co. are transferred to the newly established Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd.

1980

Going public

On 15 April, Baer Holding Ltd., the successor of Julius Baer & Co. (Holding) Ltd., issues bearer shares with a par value of CHF 500, priced at CHF 3,000.

1981

Launch of the Art Commission

The Art Commission of Bank Julius Baer is launched on 25 August.

1982

First foreign investment fund

Launch of Liquibaer, Julius Baer's first investment fund under foreign law, focused on money market investments.

1983

Julius Baer Investment Mgt. Inc.

Establishment of Julius Baer Investment Management Inc. in New York on 4 February. The company is licensed as an investment management firm by the Securities and Exchange Commission on 13 April.

1984

Opening in New York

The Bank opens a branch office in New York on 2 April. It is the first Swiss bank to make use of the Federal Charter created in connection with the International Banking Act.

Opening in Geneva

The Bank opens a representative office in Geneva on 14 November.

1986

Acquisition of Société Bancaire

Baer Holding Ltd. Acquires 51% of the shares of Société Bancaire in Geneva on 12 February. In 1995, this stake is increased to 75% and in 1997 to 100%.

1989

Opening in Frankfurt

Establishment of Bank Julius Bär (Deutschland) AG in Frankfurt am Main on 27 July.

Opening in Guernsey

On 9 August, Julius Baer Trust Company (Channel Islands) Ltd. is established in Guernsey. In 1994, Bank Julius Baer (Guernsey) Ltd. is founded. In 1999, it becomes a branch office of Bank Julius Baer.

1990

Broadening the fund universe

Julius Baer launches the first investment fund under Luxembourg law.

100th anniversary

Bank Julius Baer celebrates its 100th anniversary with a party for its staff held at the "Kongresshaus" Zurich on 7 September.

1996

New divisional structure

Baer Holding Ltd. is renamed Julius Baer Holding Ltd., and the new division-based management structure of the Julius Baer Group is implemented.

1997

Acquisition of Bank Falck

Julius Baer Holding Ltd. acquires 51% of the shares of the Lucerne-based Bank Falck & Co. AG. In 1998, the remaining 49% of the shares are bought and the location becomes a branch office of Bank Julius Baer.

Opening in Vienna

The bank opens a representative office in Vienna, today's Julius Baer Investment Advisory GesmbH.

1998

Opening in Lausanne

Opening of a branch office in Lausanne by Banque Julius Baer (Genève) SA, which is in turn converted into a branch of Bank Julius Baer.

2000

Opening in Basle

Bank Julius Baer opens a branch office in Basle in April.

Admission to the SMI

On 2 October, the shares of Julius Baer Holding Ltd. are admitted to the Swiss Market Index (SMI), the blue-chip index of the Swiss Stock Exchange (SWX). Today, the shares of Julius Baer Group Ltd. are included in the Swiss Leader Index (SLI), comprising the 30 largest and most liquid Swiss stocks.

2002

Trust company in Milan

Foundation of the trust company Julius Baer Fiduciaria S.p.A. in Milan on 6 November.

2003

Focusing on core business

Julius Baer withdraws from the institutional brokerage business on 10 October in order to refocus attention on its traditional wealth management business.

2004

License for Dubai

On 20 September, Bank Julius Baer becomes the first international wealth manager to be licensed for trading in the newly created Dubai International Financial Centre.

2005

Single-class registered share

On 17 January, the Baer family decides to give up the control of the company in order to open up new growth perspectives for the Group. The Board of Directors proposes the introduction of a single-class registered share without voting restrictions, which is approved by the Annual General Meeting on 12 April.

Private Banking North America

Julius Baer sells its wealth management business in the USA and Canada to UBS on 1 April.

Expansion in Germany

Business in Germany is expanded to take in the four sites in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Duesseldorf and Hamburg.

Acquisition of three private banks

On 5 September, the Group announced the takeover of three private banks – Ehinger & Armand von Ernst AG, Ferrier Lullin & Cie SA, and BDL Banco di Lugano – as well as asset manager GAM Holding AG from UBS AG. This makes Julius Baer the leading pure wealth manager in Switzerland and creates a solid platform to secure the long-term independence and competitiveness of the Group.

2006

Openings in Asia

On 3 November the Hong Kong office is ceremoniously opened as is the Singapore office on 9 November.

2007

Opening in Crans-Montana

On 4 January, Bank Julius Baer celebrates the opening of its office in Crans-Montana, the first one in a Swiss tourist resort.

New foothold in Uruguay

Foundation of Julius Baer (Uruguay) S.A., Montevideo on 24 July 2007.

New foothold in Monaco

On 4 October 2007, Julius Baer acquires Capital Invest (Monaco) S.A.M., which will subsequently be renamed Julius Baer (Monaco) S.A.M., thereby gaining a foothold in the promising Monegasque market.

Opening in Abu Dhabi

Julius Baer opens a representative office in Abu Dhabi on 25 November.

2008

Opening in Verbier

Julius Baer opens a branch office in Verbier on 4 January.

Opening in Moscow

On 19 March, a representative office in Moscow is opened. It was upgraded with a new advisory license in the first half of 2019, thus significantly strengthening the Group’s local presence.

Opening in Istanbul

Julius Baer opens a representative office in Istanbul.

Opening in St. Gallen

Julius Baer opens a branch office in St. Gallen on 21 October.

Opening in St.Moritz

Julius Baer opens a branch office in St. Moritz on 1 December.

2009

Acquisition of Alpha SIM

On 25 May, Julius Baer announces the acquisition of the independent Italian investment manager Alpha SIM, which is specialised on high-net-worth clients. Following the regulatory approval in September 2009, the company is merged with Julius Baer's business in Milan, thus complementing the Bank's well-established onshore business in Italy.

Private banking at its purest

On 1 October, the shares of Julius Baer Group Ltd. are traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange for the first time. This step is the result of the former Julius Baer Holding Ltd. separating its wealth management and asset management businesses, thus establishing Julius Baer as the leading Swiss wealth management group.

2010

Acquisition of ING Bank (CH)

Julius Baer acquires ING Bank (Switzerland) Ltd, a pure wealth management business including subsidiaries in Switzerland, Monaco and Jersey.

2011

Expansion in Germany

In January, Julius Baer opens new offices in Kiel and Würzburg.

Strategic market entry in Brazil

Julius Baer acquires a strategic minority participation in the leading independent Brazilian wealth manager GPS in May. In subsequent steps, ownership increased to 80% in 2014 and to 100% in 2016. Since the end of 2019, GPS together with Reliance Group (acquired in 2018) have been operating under the name Julius Baer Family Office Brasil; the company is the largest local independent wealth manager.

Cooperation with Macquarie

In October, Julius Baer enters into a strategic partnership with Macquarie Group, a leading financial institution in Asia. In addition, Julius Baer takes over Macquarie’s wealth management business in Asia.

Opening in Shanghai

The Group’s presence in Asia is extended with the opening of a representative office in Shanghai on 30 November.

2012

Opening in Tel Aviv

In March, Julius Baer opens its first local presence in Tel Aviv in order to tap the potential of the attractive Israeli market.

Partnership with Bank of China

In July, Julius Baer and Bank of China (BOC) announce a strategic collaboration agreement. BOC and Julius Baer will mutually cross-refer existing as well as potential clients. In addition, Bank of China (Suisse) SA was integrated into Bank Julius Baer at the end of the year.

Acquisition of Merrill Lynch’s IWM business

On 13 August, Julius Baer announces the acquisition of Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) business outside the United States and Japan from Bank of America. The acquisition brings Julius Baer a major step forward in its growth strategy and considerably strengthens its leading position in the global wealth management market.

Acquisition of Kairos

In November, Julius Baer and Milan-based Kairos Investment Management SpA announce a strategic partnership in the Italian wealth management market, with Julius Baer acquiring 19.9% of Kairos. Today, Kairos Partners SGR S.p.A is a fully consolidated subsidiary of Julius Baer.

2013

Principal Closing of IWM transaction

The integration of Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) business starts with the Principal Closing of the transaction on 1 February, including the acquisition of Merrill Lynch Bank (Suisse) S.A. in Geneva, incl. Zurich and Dubai.

Further IWM entities transferred

According to schedule, Julius Baer transfers further legal entities in relation to its acquisition of Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) business on 1 April. The entities involved are in Uruguay, Chile, Monaco and Luxembourg.

Stake in TFM Asset Management

In April, Julius Baer acquires a 60% stake in TFM Asset Management AG, a Swiss company specialised in serving Japanese clients. Renamed Julius Bär Wealth Management AG and fully taken over in 2016, these activities today are part of the joint venture between Julius Baer and Nomura Holdings Inc. formed in 2018.

Transfer IWM business in Asia

In May, the transfer of the Hong Kong and Singapore businesses of Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) starts. This step represents another major milestone in the two-year integration process.

IWM transfer UK, Spain and Israel

In July, the transfer of the businesses of Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) in the UK, Spain and Israel starts. This step represents another major milestone in the two-year integration process.

Stronger presence in Germany

At the beginning of October, Julius Baer opens a branch in Mannheim.

IWM transfer in the Middle East

In December, Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) businesses based in Lebanon, Bahrain and the UAE are transferred. Through this step, Julius Baer gains new footholds in Beirut and Manama and strengthen its existing presence in Dubai.

2014

Merger of Julius Baer’s Infidar with WMPartners completed

The merger of independent wealth management companies Infidar Investment Advisory Ltd., part of the Julius Baer Group, and WMPartners Wealth Management Ltd. announced in November 2013 is completed on 1 April. The consolidated company trades under the name of WMPartners Wealth Management Ltd and was integrated into Julius Baer’s important existing intermediaries business at the end of 2017.

Transfer of IWM business in Ireland

The transfer of Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) business based in Ireland takes place on 13 April. Through this step, Julius Baer will gain a new foothold in this important wealth management market.

Strategic cooperation with Bank Leumi

Julius Baer announces strategic cooperation with Bank Leumi. Leumi and Julius Baer will mutually cross-refer existing clients internationally and in Israel. In addition, Leumi’s Swiss private client business in Geneva and Zurich was transferred to Bank Julius Baer in March 2015.

Partnership with FIA Formula E

Julius Baer is the exclusive Global Partner of the new FIA Formula E Championship, the world’s first fully-electric racing series. The inaugural championship, which starts in Beijing on 13 September 2014, includes 10 races in major cities around the globe. For Julius Baer, FIA Formula E with its visionary approach and global reach is an ideal sponsorship platform as it stands for many values Julius Baer shares.

2015

125th anniversary of Julius Baer

Founded in 1890, Julius Baer celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2015. The jubilee year is not only about history, but rather about sharing visions for the future.

Participation in NSC Asesores, Mexico

Julius Baer announces a participation of 40% in NSC Asesores, the largest independent wealth manager in Mexico on 20 July. Following an additional participation of 30% announced in March 2019, today the majority participation amounts to 70%.

Conclusion of IWM integration, transfer of IWM business in India

Julius Baer formally concludes the integration of Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management (IWM) businesses on 31 January. The 18th and final transfer of IWM businesses takes place in India on 21 September.

Acquisition of Fransad Gestion SA, Geneva

Julius Baer acquires independent wealth manager Fransad Gestion SA in Geneva at the beginning of November.

2016

Acquisition of Commerzbank International S.A. Luxembourg

Julius Baer acquires Commerzbank International S.A. Luxembourg and transforms into a new branch, Bank Julius Baer Luxembourg S.A. Renamed Bank Julius Baer Europe S.A. in 2018, today the booking centre in Luxembourg serves as the hub for the Group’s other European business, including our well-established and growing advisory business conducted out of Luxembourg.

2017

Expansion in the United Kingdom

Julius Baer International Limited, United Kingdom, significantly expands its local wealth management business and announces the opening of new offices in Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh.

Julius Baer shares included in the FTSE4Good Global Index

The shares of Julius Baer Group Ltd. become a constituent of the FTSE4Good Global Index, reflecting the importance of corporate sustainability in the Group's overall strategy.

2018

Acquisition in Brazil

At the end of January, Julius Baer acquires a majority stake in Reliance Group, Brazil, one of the country’s largest independent wealth manager. Since the end of 2019, Reliance Group together with fully owned GPS, has been operating under the name Julius Baer Family Office Brasil; the company is the largest local independent wealth manager.

Strategic wealth management joint venture with Siam Commercial Bank for Thai clients

Announced at the end of September, Julius Baer and Siam Commercial agree to establish a joint venture to offer unique and best-in-class wealth management services to Thai clients.

Strategic partnership with Nomura Holdings Inc. in Japan

At the end of September, Julius Baer enters a strategic partnership with Nomura Holdings Inc. by forming Julius Baer Nomura Wealth Management Ltd.

Opening in Berlin

Julius Baer opens new offices in Berlin, the tenth location in the promising German wealth management market, on 1 October.

Opening in Johannesburg

At the beginning of November, Julius Baer opens a representative and an advisory office in Johannesburg, South Africa.

2019

Opening in Barcelona

Julius Baer opens offices in Barcelona as its second location in the core market Spain at the beginning of April.

Opening in Belfast

In Belfast, Northern Ireland, Julius Baer International's fifth office in the United Kingdom commences operations in mid-April.

Cooperation with Magnetis, Brazil

Julius Baer and Magnetis, a leading digital wealth manager in Brazil, sign a cooperation agreement in May.

Signing of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking

At the end of September, Bank Julius Baer becomes the first Swiss bank and one of the founding signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking. It underlines the Group’s commitment to take an active leadership role regarding sustainability.

Julius Baer shares included in the SXI Switzerland Sustainability 25 Index

The shares of Julius Baer Group Ltd. become a constituent of the SXI Switzerland Sustainability 25 Index.

Opening in Mexico City

Julius Baer opens a new representative office in Mexico City on 1 November 2019.

2020

Simplified executive leadership structure

Effective 1 January 2021, the competences and market responsibilities of Julius Baer’s executive leadership team are bundled, enhancing client focus and enabling fast decision-making. As part of these changes, the Executive Boards of Julius Baer Group Ltd. and Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd. are aligned, with the same people serving on both boards in the same professional capacity.

2021

Additional office in São Paulo

Julius Baer launches a new advisory office in São Paulo in April 2021 where the Group is already present with Julius Baer Family Office Brasil.

New location in Bogotá

The new representative office in Bogotá became operational at the beginning of May.