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Pictet WM eyes private equity, new hires

Pictet WM eyes private equity, new hires

Pictet Wealth Management is looking to grow its private equity and discretionary businesses, both of which have significantly contributed to its total assets under management (AUM) in the region.

Asia Pacific CEO, Claude Haberer said the firm multiplied its AUM by four in the last seven years.

‘We have a new plan driving us to 2020 with similarly strong growth,’ he told Citywire Asia.

Asia has been the most active region for Pictet in private equity (PE) placement, which grew by 14% in 2017 to about $11 billion in AUM globally. It collected $800 million at the closure of its fourth generation PE funds in 2017.

The private equity funds focus mostly on corporate leveraged buyout, but the bank is expanding into real estate co-investments and direct investments for clients.

Pictet is also growing its discretionary mandate business, which makes up 20% of its Asia AUM, exclusive of funds.

‘We have maintained that penetration despite the huge growth in assets,’ Haberer said.

Earlier this month, the firm launched a new Asian equity mandate, called Asia Leaders, which invests in themes and trends in Asia such as healthcare, artificial intelligence and internet of things.

Market expansion

The wealth manager is planning to expand its team in Asia this year with 6-10 new hires as well as tap more into the Chinese market, where it has several large clients, and Indonesia, in a bid to boost market share.

The bank believes it has an edge over universal banks because of its pure play model.

‘Some time ago, I was talking to a very big prospect in Southeast Asia, and he said, “Oh I never see my private banker alone. He always comes with a colleague from the investment bank, from M&A, from debt or equity because he has another business to pitch.”

‘That’s the beauty of our business model because whatever I have in the private bank will be kept with the bank. That’s a huge guarantee of integrity of the information given to us by clients,’ Haberer said.

Currently, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are the biggest contributors to its AUM in the region.

With a 213-year history in managing families, Pictet is banking on its wealth and succession planning capabilities to win clients as Chinese patriarchs pass the baton to the next generation or sell their businesses.

‘Very often, the momentous time is when they list their companies, because there is a huge difference between owning and being the mighty master of a non-listed company and being the controlling shareholder of a listed company with all the constraints and accountability that comes with it,’ he added.

Last year, Pictet hired Boris Collardi, the former Julius Baer CEO known for his aggressive push into Asia. Collardi will join Pictet as partner and global co-head of wealth management in the second half of 2018.

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