Swiss private banking group Julius Baer is reportedly looking to launch a majority-owned joint venture (JV) business in China by joining forces with a local firm.

The move is aimed at capitalising on the fast-growing wealth in the market to fuel growth in Asia.

The private bank is currently scouting for partners, Reuters reported citing people familiar with the issue.

The bank is expected to decide on the partner for the venture in 2021 prior to pushing ahead with the process of licence application, added the report.

The plans, if materialised, will make the Swiss bank the first major private bank to launch a wealth management JV in China.

Julius Baer spokesperson refused to comment on the plan.

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The latest move follows Julius Baer’s partnership with Beijing International Wealth Management Institute to train and educate wealth managers in China.

China plans of other firms

Recently, several firms have been trying to make inroads into China – the second-largest country across the globe by number of billionaires – as the country continues its financial sector liberalisation plan to boost competition.

BlackRock recently secured the regulatory clearance to establish its China wealth management JV with Temasek and China Construction Bank.

The American asset manager also obtained the nod to launch a mutual fund arm in China.

JPMorgan, along with Credit Suisse, UBS, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were also cleared to acquire a controlling stake in their China securities JVs.

Earlier this month, Standard Chartered reportedly submitted an application for a brokerage licence with the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) while last month Citi became the first US bank to receive China fund custody licence.

Meanwhile, French asset manager Amundi recently formed a new JV with Chinese firm BOC Wealth Management while DBS received the go-ahead to set up a securities brokerage JV in China.