Julius Baer is planning to strengthen its presence in Hong Kong over the next few years to grow its wealth management and family office businesses in China and other Asian countries, South China Morning Post has reported.

In an interview with the publication, the Swiss bank’s CEO Philipp Rickenbacher said that his visit to the ongoing Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit in Hong Kong would help him to ‘meet local colleagues and clients’.

The meetings would also help in executing the bank’s planned expansion post the Covid-19 pandemic, told the CEO.

Rickenbacher was quoted by the newspaper as saying: “We have always had plans to expand in Hong Kong.

“The expansion plans may have been slowed down by the pandemic, but they have not been invalidated.”

With presence in 60 markets across 25 countries worldwide, Julius Baer has been using Hong Kong and Singapore as its bases to carry out its Asian expansion.

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Despite the withdrawal of pandemic-induced restrictions by Singapore much before Hong Kong, the wealth manager has not transferred its businesses or workforce from Hong Kong to Singapore, said Rickenbacher.

He added: “We believe that the pandemic is something transitory and we have not shifted any personnel across the globe.

“We always have people in the region, we expect to have high growth in future.”

Until June this year, Julius Baer had CHF428bn ($430bn) of assets under management across the globe.

The bank’s interim results in the first half of this year revealed that its Asian business accounts for a quarter of its global operations.  

Rickenbacher also said: “Hong Kong has always been the centre of gravity for North Asia, with its proximity to and its embedding also in China and the Greater Bay Area.

“Hong Kong has been a very important stepping stone for us into the Chinese market. But it has also attracted business from the wider region.”