x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Abu Dhabi’s Falcon Private Bank to shut down in Hong Kong and focus on Middle East’s super rich

Agreement reached with EFG Bank to hand over its clients and transfer some of its employees to them at its Hong Kong office.

Falcon Private Bank CEO Eduardo Leemann.
Falcon Private Bank CEO Eduardo Leemann.

Falcon Private Bank, the Swiss money manager owned by Abu Dhabi, is winding down its operations in Hong Kong to focus on targeting the super rich in the emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.

The Zurich-based bank, which has 16 billion Swiss francs (Dh64.83bn) of assets under management, will be letting go of managing 800 million francs of assets from wealthy clients in Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan.

Falcon reached an agreement with EFG Bank to hand over its clients and transfer some of its employees at its Hong Kong office. Falcon will retain its Singapore office to service clients that are located mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We want to be very focused and leverage our strengths in Eastern European countries like Russia and the UAE in the Middle East,” Eduardo Leemann, the chief executive of Falcon Private Bank, said yesterday. “We want to focus on markets where we have a strong competitive edge.”

Mr Leemann said he expects to quickly compensate for the assets Falcon would lose from its Hong Kong office by investing in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. He declined to reveal the financial arrangement with EFG Bank.

Since Falcon was acquired by Abu Dhabi’s state-owned investment firm Aabar in 2009, the bank has gone on expansion spree. In 2012, it bought the London-based part of Clariden Leu, a subsidiary of Credit Suisse And last year, Falcon said that it had acquired the Central and Eastern Europe wealth management activities of Hyposwiss Private Bank Zurich for an undisclosed sum.

The boutique asset manager was formerly a unit of the bailed-out insurance group AIG, one of the highest profile victims of the global financial crisis. Falcon’s biggest market is Russia, where 30 per cent of its assets under management are sourced from, followed by the Middle East where funds from clients represent 12 percent of total assets.

The firm has offices in London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

mkassem@thenational.ae