Julius Baer has entered into a joint venture agreement with Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) as it looks to expand its presence in the Thai wealth market.
The Swiss private bank will hold 40% interest in the joint venture, as well as have access to the $23 billion in wealth assets managed by SCB. Over time, it also has the option to increase its stake to 49%.
In turn, Julius Baer will service SCB clients with its suite of international wealth management capabilities and advisory services.
Subject to regulatory approvals, the joint venture will operate via domestic and international companies in Thailand and Singapore, respectively.
The is the first public agreement for Julius Baer under new CEO Bernhard Hodler. He took over the reins from Boris Collardi after the latter’s sudden resignation last November.
The firm's Asia Pacific head Jimmy Lee said: ‘We recognize that the Thai client community is increasingly seeking sophisticated advisory, investment demands and global solutions.’
‘This partnership is our first international move under the new “Going Upside Down” strategy where a new banking platform is developed and introduced,' added Arthid Nanthawithaya, president and CEO of SCB.
The Thai bank introduced the ‘Going Upside Down’ strategy in 2018 to improve performance through high margin lending, data capabilities, digitalisation and creating a leaner bank.
Other wealth managers, such as Credit Suisse and HSBC Private Banking, are also making a beeline for the Thai wealth market, estimated to be around $300 billion, according to the BCG Global Wealth Report 2017.
In 2012, Julius Baer entered into an agreement with Bank of China to support the international private banking demands of its mainland Chinese clients, in a bid to gain a foothold in mainland China.