Vontobel Begins Asia Offensive

Vontobel's Headquarter in Zurich

Vontobel's Headquarter in Zurich

The Swiss Bank Vontobel announced Thursday a new growth initiative for Asia Pacific with the goal of doubling business volumes in this region by 2020.

Wealth management will play a minor role – the focus will be on niche offerings, according to Vontobel. Under no circumstances should costs be allowed to increase. No client assets will be booked outside the platforms in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany.

Growth in Asia therefore has to come mainly from asset management and structured products. In wealth management, individual markets will be approached in a more targeted way, some with the cooperation of New Zealand-Australian bank ANZ.

Hope Lies in the Product Platform

In the area of financial products, Vontobel wants to invest further in technology and extend the multi-issuer platform. Seven distribution partners have already expressed interest.
But Vontobel remains its conservative self with regard to risk. Investment in growth initiatives will be minimal. The cost base should not increase significantly and the goal of 75 per cent cost-income ratio remains the same for 2017.

Takeovers would be an option for private banking and asset management. But Vontobel is more interested in organic growth in Asia.

Substantial Increase in 2015

Swiss Vontobel bank saw a substatial increase in profit last year thanks to strong asset management. Client assets have reached a new record high. The dividend will be increased.

In 2015, Vontobel increased net profit by 34 per cent to 180.1 million francs. The results were so strong mostly due to growth in asset management and structured products, the bank announced Thursday.

Asset management brought in a pre-tax profit of 139 million francs, while financial products delivered 62 million francs in profit. In wealth management, pre-tax profit was down 18 per cent at 61 million francs. The bank invested in hiring more client advisors but negative interest rates also hit results.

Significant Net New Money

Client assets increased by 16.1 billion francs in total, organic growth accounting for 8 billion. Vontobel acquired the fixed-income specialist Twentyfour Asset Management as well as the private bank Finter in 2015.

In wealth management, advised client assets increased to 42.5 billion francs. In total advised client assets reached a new record of 147.8 billion.
Vontobel said it has successfully navigated the market turmoil of the first weeks of the year. The board will propose an increased dividend of 1.85 francs per share, up 19 per cent.

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