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Julius Baer CEO sees chance for Asian deals as rivals shrink

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - 21:13
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Julius Baer Group Ltd Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi sees a chance to profit in Asia from businesses his competitors are willing to sell.

[GENEVA] Julius Baer Group Ltd Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi sees a chance to profit in Asia from businesses his competitors are willing to sell.

Under-performing universal banks may sell wealth-management units as they shrink the number of markets in which they operate, he said in an interview on Monday. The move by Barclays Plc to sell its Asia wealth business is a "template for what's to come," he said.

"They have decided to get rid of their Asian wealth management business and I think we're going to see more of that happening," Collardi said. "You're going to see more portfolios being sold from large banks." Julius Baer hasn't decided whether to bid for the Barclays unit, a spokesman said. Barclays declined to comment.

Julius Baer, established in Zurich in 1890, is also trying to piggyback firms with connections to affluent Chinese, expecting private wealth in the country to increase to more than US$8 trillion by 2020, according to the company's research. Collardi, who is looking to invest in firms including Internet- only financial product and service distributors, said the roiling of the country's stock market has yet to make valuations of technology companies in China compelling.

"There are still some successful firms trading at much too high price-earnings for our liking, especially when they are more technology-based, so we would be a bit more prudent on that," Collardi said in an interview on Monday. "Some companies you just don't want to touch because they haven't yet got to the stage of maturity where you can feel comfortable with them."

Julius Baer acquired a 5 per cent stake in Jupai Holdings Ltd. in December, sharing a private placement in the Shanghai- based financial firm with Chinese Internet company SINA Corp. The firm has previously said it has earmarked US$100 million for deals in China.

BLOOMBERG

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