Lombard Odier, Geneva’s oldest wealth manager, has signed an agreement with Thailand’s Kasikornbank to expand its footprint in South East Asia.
The move is aimed at expanding Lombard Odier’s network and client base in the Asia-Pacific region, one of the Swiss lender’s key growth engines.
According to the memorandum of understanding, Lombard Odier will manage global investment funds on behalf of Kasikornbank’s private clients in return for a management fee. Lombard Odier will also act as an exclusive offshore custodian for Kasikornbank clients, using Singapore as a booking center.
Vincent Duhamel, head of Asia at Lombard Odier said this partnership will enable Lombard Odier to to enter the market through a big Thai financial institution in a "significant way". Kasikornbank is Thailand’s second-largest bank by market capitalisation, ranking just behind Bangkok Bank.
"We are very pleased to offer Kasikornbank’s clients access to first-class global wealth solutions," Duhamel added.
Lombard Odier has been present in Asia for more than 25 years with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
In October this year, the bank’s global senior partner, Patrick Odier, reportedly said Lombard Odier was eyeing expansion opportunities in new growth markets across South East Asia, China, Middle East, India, Latin America and Central Asia.
Since 2012, Lombard Odier entered partnerships with Australian wealth manager JBWere and South Korea’s Kookmin Bank to strengthen its commitment to the region.
With Asia becoming one of the fastest- growing private banking markets, several banks are establishing local strategic partnerships to profit from the region’s numerous HNWIs.
However, large international players like Bank of America Merril Lynch, Barclays and Societe Generale have partly or totally shed their operations in Asia.
Lastly, RBS’ Coutts has put up its international arm for sale, with the likes of Singapore’s DBS, which had already acquired SocGen’s Asian operations in March 2014.
Reporting its financial results for the first time this year, total client assets at Lombard Odier were $238bn on 30 June 2014, of which assets under management (AuM) accounted for $176 billion.