Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer has announced it is to separate its private banking and asset management businesses into two fully independent entities on the Swiss stock exchange.
Julius Baer Group Ltd will be a leading pure-play private banking group, with a focus on servicing and advising private clients. GAM Holding Ltd will be an independent active asset manager, composed of GAM, Artio Global Investors and Julius Baer Asset Management Europe.
The move coincides with private clients' increasing level of demand for independent, strongly capitalised and fully dedicated private banks. According to a statement, it will allow "for a truly unrestricted choice of the best services and products available for the benefit of its clients."
However, GAM will remain the preferred product provider for the private clients of Julius Baer Group Ltd, particularly for funds of hedge funds.
"In light of the challenges that many financial services business models are confronted with currently, we are convinced that both entities will benefit from their sharpened focus and the absence of competing interests, thus acting pro-actively in the best interest of all of our stakeholders," said Raymond J Baer (pictured), family member and chairman of Julius Baer Holding Ltd.
The transaction is expected to be completed during the third quarter 2009, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.