By CONRAD TAN
SWISS boutique private bank Banque Heritage has opened its first Asian office in Singapore, targeting wealthy families from around the region.
Chief executive Carlos Esteve said the bank will use its experience in providing family-office services in Switzerland to attract rich clients in Asia.
Its operations here are managed through two companies - Heritage Asset Management, which provides private banking clients with investment advice and services, and Heritage Capital Asia, which offers them corporate finance and advisory services, such as raising debt finance for their business.
While the competition to provide such corporate finance and advisory services is stiff, 'the large firms will not necessarily look at the transactions that we'll look at', Mr Esteve said.
Banque Heritage is targeting typical deal sizes of US$50 million to US$100 million, smaller than the deals the large investment banks typically compete for.
The bank has seen 'significant growth' this year, attracting some two billion Swiss francs (S$2.7 billion) in net new private banking assets, Mr Esteve said.
Overall, the group's client assets under management rose 40 per cent to some 7 billion Swiss francs, from 4.8 billion Swiss francs last year, said Roland Knecht, who heads the firm's global private banking business.
In Singapore, it now has just under S$100 million in client assets under management. 'We hope that in the medium term, Asia will become a significant contributor nto just in terms of net new assets, but also revenues,' Mr Knecht said.
Banque Heritage now has 22 people at its Singapore office, including five relationship managers serving private-banking customers.
It plans to hire another five relationship managers here next year, Mr Knecht said.
The group aims to attract high net worth individuals with US$2 million-US$20 million to invest, he said.
'In terms of geography, we want to focus on Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and India.'
For now, the small number of sophisticated clients the bank serves means it is allowed to operate here without a licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
But it plans to apply to be licensed by MAS next year as business grows, Mr Knecht said.
This article was first published in The Business Times.