Bangkok-based SCB Julius Baer Securities has doubled its headcount this year as the firm saw huge inflows from clients in spite of the market volatility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Lalitphat Toranavikrai, the firm’s CEO.
Formally launched in April last year, SCB Julius Baer is the wealth management joint venture firm between Siam Commercial Bank and Julius Baer. The Thai bank owns 60% of the JV, while Julius Baer owns the rest.
“SCB Julius Baer has seen a more than doubling of assets under management (AUM) from existing and new clients despite the Covid-19 situation,” Lalitphat Toranavikrai said in a statement.
To accommodate the increase in its AUM – 10% of which are in discretionary mandates, the firm increased the number of its relationship managers to 30 this year from just around 15 in 2019, Lalitphat told FSA. However, she did not disclose the firm’s current AUM.
“The company had to double the number of its RMs to support business expansion,” Lalitphat said.
Market share target
SCB Julius Baer has ambitious plans in the next five years. The firm aims to have a 10% market share in Thailand’s HNWI and UHNWI segment within that time period, with a customer base of at least 1,000 families, according to the statement.
The wealth manager believes that the opportunities in Thailand’s HNW segment are sizable. According to the firm, HNWI assets reached THB 10trn ($320bn) in December, reflecting a growth rate of 9.9% per year. Last year, the firm expected total wealth to hit $400bn by the end of 2020.
According to Lalitphat, the firm plans to hire more staff this year in a move to further expand its business. They include investment advisors and relationship managers who are knowledgeable in both onshore and offshore investments.
The firm is also launching a “junior executive programme”, which will target the younger generation.
“The programme will help budding investors understand and become more familiar with wealth management concepts and practices,” Lalitphat explained.
Other foreign players are also tapping into Thai’s wealthy segment, with a number of them establishing an on-the-ground presence in recent years. In February 2019, LGT, owned by the Princely House of Liechtenstein, launched a wealth management business in Thailand, following in the steps of Credit Suisse, which set up a Bangkok entity in 2016, and Lombard Odier, which formed a partnership with Kasikornbank six years ago.
Separately, SCB Julius Baer also shared its investment outlook, where it prefers US and China equities.
“Following market fluctuations during the first and second quarter this year, SCB Julius Baer began to see signs of economic recovery from economic indicators in the third quarter. World GDP for 2021 is expected to recover to 6.5%, from negative growth of approximately 3%.
“We see equities as more appealing than safe-haven assets and we have focused our investment in the US and China,” Lalitphat said.