Given the challenging markets, the Julius Baer Group performed well during the first months of 2009, with all businesses contributing positively. Group assets under management (AuM) increased from the levels at the end of 2008, reflecting the weakening of the Swiss franc against key currencies, the recent improvement of equity markets and net new money. While the net new money inflow into Bank Julius Baer was again positive, it continued to be negative in Asset Management, but at a significantly slower pace than experienced in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Bank Julius Baer continued to attract net new private banking assets, with all regions contributing, although clearly at a slower pace than last year’s strong inflows. The Private Label Fund business continued to record healthy inflows, comparable with a year ago. Revenues declined in line with the lower average AuM level year on year. The cost base continued to be managed actively without sacrificing the core strengths of the business and notwithstanding the hiring of additional private bankers. As previously announced, with effect from 1 May 2009, Boris F.J. Collardi became the new CEO of Bank Julius Baer. Given the growing size and importance of the Bank’s Asian operations, the Regional Head of Asia and the Middle East will shortly relocate from Zurich to Singapore
While the asset management industry has continued to face a challenging environment, the overall situation has shown improvement compared to the last quarter of 2008. As expected, GAM continued to experience net outflows, largely stemming from a wave of industry-wide redemptions placed during the very negative period at the end of 2008. However, the pace of these has slowed significantly. GAM’s key multi-strategy funds of hedge funds have performed well so far this year. On 1 April 2009, GAM announced the proposed acquisition of Augustus Asset Managers Ltd., the successful London-based fixed income and foreign exchange investment management company for which regulatory approvals have now been received. While restructuring its investment fund range, Julius Baer Asset Management Europe achieved a satisfactory start to 2009 with positive net new money year to date. Artio Global, which Julius Baer still intends to IPO when market conditions allow, also experienced positive net new money year to date.
Driven in particular by the lower AuM levels year on year, the Group’s net operating income declined by slightly more than a fifth through April compared to the same period of last year. Ongoing cost-cutting in all business areas resulted in a significant reduction of operating expenses.
The Julius Baer Group continues to maintain a sound balance sheet with low leverage, and a solid capital base. With a BIS Tier 1 ratio at over 14% under Basel II, the Group continues to be strongly capitalised. In addition, Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd. continues to be rated Aa3 by Moody’s.