UBS AG (UBSN), Switzerland’s biggest bank, hired 88 advisers this year to service rich Asian clients after assets at its wealth-management business in the region jumped 38 percent in the past two years.
The recruits, who will be based in Hong Kong, boost the number of UBS client advisers in Asia to 1,120, the biggest pool since the bank started its operations in the region, according to Kathryn Shih, head of the firm’s Asia-Pacific wealth-management business. The total is more than 8 percent higher than at the end of 2013, Shih said in an e-mail yesterday.
Swiss banks including Credit Suisse Group AG and Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER) are trying to grow assets from emerging nations in Asia to Latin America after a crackdown on tax evasion by U.S. and European governments crimped growth in traditional markets. UBS’s Asia-Pacific assets under management rose to a record $245 billion at the end of last year from $177 billion in 2011, according to data from the bank.
“The Asia Pacific continues to be one of the fastest-growing regions in the world for UBS and we continue to hire strategically in accordance with the growth needs of the business,” said Shih, who’s based in Hong Kong.
Buoyed by economic growth, Asians with at least $1 million in investable assets are expected to see their riches climb to $15.9 trillion by 2015 from $12 trillion in 2012, according to a September wealth report by Cap Gemini SA and Royal Bank of Canada.
UBS has scaled back its investment bank in favor of wealth management under Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti. The bank said in February its wealth-management unit had an 18 percent increase in fourth-quarter pretax profit to 471 million francs ($531 million) from a year earlier.
Asia-Pacific millionaires increased their assets at an annual rate of 4.9 percent in the five years to 2012, three times faster than the expansion in North America, according to the Cap Gemini-RBC report.
The number of high net-worth individuals in the Asia-Pacific region grew 9.4 percent to 3.68 million in 2012, according to the 17th annual World Wealth Report published in June. The total was second, behind North America, which rose 11.5 percent from a year earlier to 3.73 million.
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