Wealth management taking a longer term view after Brexit

David Durlacher, UK CEO of Julius Baer.
David Durlacher, UK CEO of Julius Baer.
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Brexit has forced wealth managers and their clients to take a longer term view on accessing new markets, according to the UK boss of a wealth management firm.

David Durlacher, pictured, the UK CEO of Julius Baer International, told The Yorkshire Post that longer term thinking has been forced on people’s agendas.

He said: “What I would say on Brexit is that it’s rarely a topic that comes up amongst our client base across the UK and the reason for that is because a lot of people have already gone forward in their thinking.

“They’ve already thought about new ways in which they can access new markets.

“That longer term thinking that has been forced on to their agenda is a very healthy thing for any business in any sector.

“That is the thinking that allows people to consider new opportunities. It’s an opportunity for dynamism in the economy.

“The UK for generations has adapted to political change. It has found ways of tapping into new opportunities. That is no different today than it was a generation or two ago.”

Speaking during a visit to Yorkshire, where Julius Baer last year established an office, Mr Durlacher said that growth in the export market wouldn’t have come had it not been for the weak sterling.

The value of the pound plummeted after the vote to leave the European Union.

Julius Baer is looking to expand into the UK’s regions where wealth is being created, Mr Durlacher said.

He added: “If we look at where wealth is being created, actually two thirds of it is outside of London and the South East.

“So it is natural that we would at this point look to go where that wealth is being created. It’s come as part of client demand.”

Julius Baer looks after the wealth of high net worth and ultra high net worth clients. The firm says its sees a growing opportunity in Yorkshire especially in the professional services market.

Martin Cuthbert, executive director at Julius Baer, said: “It’s the broadness of the economy in the North and Yorkshire in particular that I think is attractive.

“It’s fantastic to have that new entrepreneurial spirit and all the benefits that cascade off the back of that.”

He added that Julius Baer was a “broad church” and that it isn’t just focusing on professional services.

The wealth management industry has been focusing on increasing digitisation and being more innovative.

However, Julius Baer says its strength is in having a more back to basics approach of putting the client first.

“The heart of a business needs to be around that interaction between a private client and a firm that is all built around them,” Mr Durlacher said. He added that Julius Baer is able to provide a global perspective to its clients.

Julius Baer decided to establish an office in Leeds after it became apparent that it was able to hire the talent the wealth manager required.

Mr Durlacher said: “We had the opportunity to attract some of the best in the industry here in Leeds and we took advantage of that.”

Currently, the firm has 10 employees in Leeds, including support staff. While looking to expand, Julius Baer said that it didn’t have a specific target when it comes to recruiting staff. “Talent is a finite resource and we’re always looking to talk to talent,” Mr Cuthbert said. “It’s not a numbers game.”

This year marks 50 years of Switzerland-based Julius Baer operating in the UK.