Swiss Bank EFG plans to expand the wealth of Asia with a former partner of Pictet & Cie Bank

Giorgio Bradelli, CEO of EFG International AG, said the company plans to expand into Asia with the help of Boris Collardi, former partner of Pictet & Cie bank.

Collardi, a board member who represents the Latsis family, the largest shareholder in Swiss Wealth Management, has a role in advising on the bank’s growth, according to Bradley. The private banker, who abruptly exited Pictet in 2021, bought nearly 3.5 percent of the shares in the financial group from Spiro J. Latsis last year.

The Zurich-based company has several hundred million Swiss francs of spare capital for the deals, Bradley said in an interview in Singapore. He said the targets will be in key markets that include the city-state and Hong Kong as well as London and Europe, which are also among the regions where the bank plans to add staff.

“If we can do acquisitions in Singapore or Hong Kong, we’d love to do that,” Bradley said.

Founded in 1995 by a Greek billionaire family, EFG is among the international wealth companies vying to expand its market share in Asia. It ranks 20th among wealth companies in Asia excluding China, trailing the region’s largest UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, according to a ranking table by Asian Private Banker.

However, the financial group is building deals such as Swiss private bank BSI in 2016 and Australian firm Shaw and Partners more recently.

spark investigations

Collardi went to Hong Kong this year. Albert Qiu, the financial group’s head of Asia Pacific operations, said his relationships, which also include clients in Asia, have been beneficial to the bank.

As CEO of Julius Baer, ​​Collardi has led a period of rapid expansion through nearly a dozen acquisitions and joint ventures. This subsequently sparked investigations into how well the bank screened its customers and monitored their business activities. In 2018, he became the first outsider to join Pictet as a partner in nearly two decades.

Under the current 3-year plan, which ends in 2025, Bradley said, the financial group plans to hire 50 to 70 bankers annually globally. The bank targets senior officials who handle large volumes of clients’ assets.

Newly appointed chairman Alex Claassen, who headed HSBC Holdings Plc’s Swiss private banking operations until last year, said in the interview that Asia is a strategic priority for the bank.

Claassen and Collardi were elected to the board in October, Bradley said, marking a change in direction adding experienced private bankers with the bank’s plans for growth.

Image credits: Bloomberg

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