Martin Cuthbert, of Julius Baer, delivered an upbeat assessment of Yorkshire’s economic prospects as he celebrated the opening of the Swiss private bank’s new office in Leeds.
The Zurich-based group has hired a number of experienced relationship managers to staff its office in the Platform building in Leeds. The office has been opened as part its expansion strategy across the North of England and Scotland.
Platform is property company Bruntwood’s redevelopment of the old City House building above Leeds City Station. The development includes a technology incubator to nurture a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Mr Cuthbert, who is the head of region for North East England at Julius Baer, said: “There was a clear desire for the business to increase its footprint around the UK.
“There’s a huge amount of wealth outside the South East. The idea was really to get ourselves out into the marketplace and identify hubs and the North of the UK was identified as a starting point.
“Julius Baer has got a track record of being able to do this in the past. Germany, where we’re about to open our 10th office, has been a prime example of that. We will be doing exactly the same thing; organic growth tapping into markets to make sure the brand builds its presence and footprint.”
He added: “Yorkshire is such a diverse economy. The opportunity is absolutely fantastic.
“You’ve got an expanding professional services community and manufacturing, the landed estates and tourism; there are so many different elements to the economy that makes it an attractive place to do business. We’re really proud to represent Julius Baer.”
Mr Cuthbert, who previously worked for Barclays Wealth Management, has also been impressed by the strong ties between Yorkshire universities and fast growing start-ups.
He added: “You’ve only got to look at a building like this and the businesses that are starting up, particularly around technology.
“We’ve got the hubs to support those technologies from the universities, so you will get the kind of effect you’ve had at Cambridge; with spin offs around media and technology from the university.
“Those type of areas, supported by a strong manufacturing base, will continue to grow in Yorkshire.”
“For a long time (Platform) was a bit of an eyesore as you came into Leeds. Now you see it as a really iconic building.
“It does represent that thriving buzz that you can feel building in the city and Yorkshire.”
Julius Baer employs 250 people across the UK and Ireland, with around 10 staff based in the new Leeds office.
A Julius Baer spokesman said the firm planned to keep growing the business and team over time.
The Swiss private banking group Julius Baer International announced it was opening new offices in Manchester, Leeds and Scotland last year.
The Zurich-based group said around 30 roles would be created as a result. A spokesman said that two thirds of the UK’s wealth is held by individuals outside London and the south east.
He added: “Business owners, entrepreneurs and other wealthy individuals based in and around Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Belfast will now have access to the Julius Baer offering.”
Yves Robert-Charrue, the private bank’s head of Europe, said: “This is another step in Julius Baer Group’s growth strategy.”