François Reyl, CEO of Swiss bank and asset manager Reyl & Cie, has discussed the further development and AUM targets of its London presence, taking advantage of the city's growing role as a global hub for sophisticated investors.
François Reyl, CEO of Swiss bank and asset manager Reyl & Cie, has discussed the further development and AUM targets of its London presence, taking advantage of the city’s growing role as a global hub for sophisticated investors.
Geneva-based bank Reyl & Cie has made its wider ambition outside Europe well known, rapidly growing its ultra high-net-worth client base in Asia and Russia, and raising its profile in the US.
But it has now identified London as the hub for its target client set of new-world entrepreneurs. While other capitals seem to be driving wealth away, London, says CEO François Reyl, is doing everything right to make itself the global hub for sophisticated investors. Its concentration of top connections in banking, corporate finance, private equity and asset management, as well as the security and lifestyle they expect, makes London a "very attractive" gateway for these clients.
The Reyl office in St James' Square, Mayfair, will be headed by Ladislas Safyurtlu as managing partner of a new UK subsidiary, Reyl & Co (UK) LLP. It will start with a staff of three but aims to hire up to 20 executives over time. The target is to reach £500m AUM in London in three years.
Reyl's first office abroad was in Paris in 2004, followed by the establishment of Reyl Private Office in Luxembourg in 2009.
In 2010, the group set up a subsidiary in Singapore and in 2011 agreed a joint venture in Hong Kong with the Samena Capital group. Reyl & Co then created Reyl Overseas, a Zurich-based company registered with the US SEC, to meet the needs of US taxpayers living in Switzerland and abroad.
Reyl & Co comprises three lines of business: wealth management, within bank Reyl & Co, asset management, through a range of long-only and alternative funds, managed by Reyl Asset Management and private office services offered by Reyl Private Office.
"Our efforts in London will initially focus on wealth management activity," Reyl explains. "It will become a showcase for all of the group's activities, from the distribution of our investment fund range, managed by Reyl Asset Management, to our private office services, led by Reyl Private Office, and our investment banking activities."
The group has grown assets under management by 500% in the past four years. Reyl believes that is partly to do with the "nimble", holistic service offered, and while clients may also use local banks and asset managers, they are acutely sensitive to the need to diversify their asset base internationally.
"We are offering an original, fresh and dynamic value proposition," Reyl says. It appeals particularly to second generation high-net-worth clients, where research indicates that "some instability in established relationships", and to the energetic approach of entrepreneurs from high-growth markets.
He adds that the group also picks up business which larger rivals fail to hold. "For example, there is a very large population of US tax-compliant clients across Europe which is under-served, even fled from, by other firms," he says.
New compliance imposed by regulations such as Fatca, among others, are just part of doing business. "It imposes an affiliation to rules dictated by the US IRS (Internal Revenue Service), and yes, it is a nuclear weapon of regulation. But the direction of history for the industry is onshore, and ever greater transparency."
Reyl's Asset Management offering comprises a compact rage of equity and fixed income funds, both long-only and long-short, but there are no plans to rush out new products. "We don't want or need funds for the sake of it," Reyl says. "We are a high alpha, niche player, and we backtest any product to ensure we can add value."
However, there are areas and themes of increasing interest – including emerging markets, water, luxury brands, the resurgence of US real estate and commodities.
He notes that Russia, long regarded as challenging from a private banking point of view, is now a maturing market. Africa is some years behind, but is catching up fast with the emergence of an aspiring middle class, as well as its base of commodity wealth. "The rise of some private equity funds in Africa is very impressive," Reyl adds. "There are some extremely talented people operating in the region."