Julius Baer plans China fund after receiving State trading quota

Julius Baer is to launch a China fund after the State Administration of Foreign Exchange in China set a quota of $100m for it to trade in mainland capital markets.

It forms part of Bank Julius Baer’s aim to make Asia its second most important market after Switzerland – evidenced by its Hong Kong operation being promoted into a full bank branch late last year, and its planning a representative office in Shanghai within the year.

The Swiss group’s Asian expansion forms part of a trend also pursued by some of its European peers.

In February, EFG Private Bank appointed Tony Jordan to run an Asia Pacific equity fund, and said Asia was an important region for business growth.

In April, Genevan wealth manager Reyl & Cie announced a joint venture with Samena Capital to access Asian hedge funds.

Allianz Global Investors has also said the region forms a key part of its growth strategy.

Julius Baer remains the only Swiss private bank to be granted a QFII licence, by China’s Banking Regulatory Commission in December 2010.

China has granted a combined QFII quota of about $20bn to foreign institutions including Citi, Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Morgan Stanley.

Julius Baer’s forthcoming fund will invest in both A and H shares, and be advised by at least one specialist advisor.

Kenneth Ho, head of products for Asia Pacific, said China’s onshore market offers “so many interesting options for investors”, but until now clients have had very limited direct access to this trend, since few China stocks have overseas listings.

Bank Julius Baer already has renminbi conversion services, savings and fixed deposit accounts, renminbi-denominated unit trusts, currency linked investments and bonds available in Hong Kong and Singapore.

David Walker

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