SG Private Banking has hired Pierre Baer as an executive director and member of the Asia Executive Committee. He will be responsible for developing SG's strategy for getting European assets into Asia.
Baer has long been one of the highest profile private bankers in the region, having previously lead Credit Suisse Private Banking's Southeast Asian business in Singapore. His new position will also be in Singapore.
While at Credit Suisse, Baer ran the initiative to establish a global booking centre in the Singapore, building a business of over 200 people in the bank's impressive Raffles Link offices. He left the bank earlier this year.
The move comes at a time when private bankers around Asia are predicting a huge influx of money into the region from Europe. New tax harmonization laws in the EU are having a profound effect and money is starting to leave the region. For instance, although not part of the EU Switzerland has signed a tax treaty with the Union to impose a withholding tax on savings, payable at source. The effect of this law was amply seen in January when Italy announced a tax amnesty for savings held offshore. Some Eur30 billion came back into Italian domestic accounts, mostly from Switzerland.
Singapore is expected to be a big beneficiary of this change and banks are positioning themselves accordingly. While the money is expected to leave the European region, it is unlikely that it will leave the European banks.
"In recent years we are beginning to see a significant number of high net worth individuals in Europe diversifying their assets and gradually moving some into Asia," says Daniel Truchi CEO of SG Private Banking (Asia Pacific), to whom Baer will report. "SG, being one of the fastest growing private banking businesses in Asia, thus reinforces its set-up as a global worldwide hub for Asian clients as well as non-Asian customers, from Europe and other regions."