Julius Baer has entered into its second major
joint venture in the Asia-Pacific region signing a partnership
agreement with Bank of China (BOC).

Under the agreement, BOC will refer its
clients with international private banking needs outside Chinese
mainland to Julius Baer, while the Swiss bank will do the same for
its clients requiring banking services in China.

“Our international private clients have become
much more demanding in recent years. The cooperation with Julius
Baer instantly complements our existing private banking
capabilities,” said Li Lihui, BOC vice chairman and president.

The agreement also features other joint
initiatives, such as cooperation in product distribution and
financial market research.


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The BOC agreement follows Julius Baer’s
clients’ cross-referring agreement with the Australian Macquarie
group in October 2011, which also led the Swiss pure-play wealth
manager to buy Macquarie’s Asian private wealth division.

Macquarie’s Private Wealth Asia unit operated
from offices in Singapore and Hong Kong and managed total client
assets of around $1bn.


Access to Chinese mainland HNWI’s
market to come next

The partnership with BOC sets the basis for
Julius Baer’s fully operational entrance in the Chinese mainland
private banking market.

“The partnership offers the potential for
Julius Baer to gain further access to Chinese Mainland, one of the
world’s most important and fastest-growing wealth markets,” said
Julius Baer CEO Boris Collardi. 

The Swiss bank opened its first Chinese office
in Shanghai in November 2011 but can not currently provide any
products in China because foreign banks can only apply for a
business license after having a representative office for two


Tight-lipped on future APAC

Julius Baer’s move into China followed the
company’s Asia’s Wealth Report, published in September 2011, which
predicted that by 2015 the numbers of high net worth individuals
(HNWI) across Asia will more than double to 2.82m.

The Swiss bank did not want to disclose if it
envisages further agreements or acquisitions in the region.