Asia has been a growth engine and centre of innovation for Julius Baer in the past decade, and this is set to continue. Jimmy Lee, Head Asia Pacific and Member of the Group Executive Board, shares his insights here about the company's sweet spots, the desire to innovate, and other key factors which have led to our position as one of the largest wealth management providers in the region.
Julius Baer’s business in Asia may be relatively young against the centennial history of the Bank, but it has achieved strong growth momentum over the past decade with the rapid rise of wealth in Asia.
Today, Asia accounts for about a quarter of Julius Baer’s total assets under management and its global workforce. In 2021, the Group reported record annual profits, with strong contributions from key markets including Singapore, Greater China, Japan, and India.
Asia – Our second home market
“Housing 25 per cent of our global workforce, Asia has significantly contributed to the sustainable growth of Julius Baer in the past decade and will continue to play a vital role going forward. With our large footprint and regional management based in Singapore, the strategic importance of Asia is evident," explains Jimmy Lee, Head Asia Pacific at Julius Baer and Member of the Group Executive Board.
Julius Baer serves this diverse region from a number of locations, including local booking centres in Singapore and Hong Kong, a representative office in Shanghai, a domestic presence in India, and via joint ventures in Thailand and Japan.
Lee highlights that Julius Baer differentiates itself for its high and ultra-high net worth clients as a focused wealth manager by maintaining a diverse and experienced workforce, offering innovative solutions, as well as fostering personal, trusted relationships. This leads to high client satisfaction, as the recent Global Client survey has confirmed.
“Our success is the direct reflection of our people’s commitment to excellence and the unwavering support of our clients. We are very proud that we’ve just been awarded Best Private Bank South Asia for the first time by Asian Private Banker in a category of ASEAN countries, and we have won Best Private Bank Global Indians for the second consecutive year at the Asian Private Banker Awards for Distinction 2021."
“We have a tradition of making far-sighted decisions, and building relationships and connections with our clients and their families, often lasting decades, by focusing on what truly matters to them. Lately, and as a partial result of the pandemic, we’ve been seeing the priorities and investment focus of wealthy individuals in Asia changing substantially. And we’ve been providing more advice on topics like sustainability, philanthropy, and building a legacy," says Lee.
It is not in our nature to stand still – and innovation is important to appeal to our clients.
With families increasingly planning for intergenerational transfer of wealth, Julius Baer instituted in early 2021 its new Single Family Office in Singapore to support their Asian clients’ wealth planning needs. With a global network of internal and external specialists and a range of sophisticated wealth planning solutions, Julius Baer offers bespoke roadmaps to set up family governance, grow and protect family wealth, manage life’s challenges, and provide a family network to exchange ideas.
“The potential created by innovation in the region is tremendous,“ says Lee. “It is not in our nature to stand still – and innovation is important to appeal to our clients. It is our goal to accelerate our transformation journey. Just recently, the ’Launchpad’, Julius Baer’s first innovation lab, was set up in Singapore, further underlining the power of innovation in the regional importance of Asia for our Group.”
In fact, as part of its quest to continuously innovate, Julius Baer has significantly expanded its digital offerings for its clients since the onset of the pandemic and has made tremendous technological progress in the last two years.
The new proprietary Digital Advisory Suite (DiAS), for example, provides our relationship managers with holistic overviews of client objectives, and helps them to identify opportunities of engagement with sound recommendations that meet all regulatory requirements. For DiAS, Julius Baer received the Front Office award at the WealthTechAsia Awards last year. Also, through ’Julius Baer Mobile’, our mobile banking app, clients booked in Singapore and Hong Kong can now trade securities in near real time across over 30 major exchanges.
Working together to make a difference
While innovation is important, having the right people is crucial, concludes Lee. “It’s not a novelty, but it’s a fact: our ultimate success factor is our people. With a purpose to create value beyond wealth, we are committed to the long-term development of our team that takes pride in their commitment and dedication to our clients with their high-quality service and care."