Lombard Odier, a Switzerland-based private bank, is bringing its services to the South African market by targeting clients looking to diversify their portfolios offshore.
The 220 year-old bank, which was recently awarded a category one licence from the industry regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), will provide advisory and related services to the country’s high net-worth clients.
A senior vice-president with the bank, Martine Steinegger said “the bank is run by entrepreneurs and we have identified three perquisites for entering a new market”.
She added that “this includes having a client base in the market, as well as being able to provide expertise at a level commensurate with our reputation. Finally, the market we enter needs to be well-regulated, and that is certainly the impression we have of the South African market”.
Lombard Odier was established in 1796 and focuses on investment advisory, execution and fiduciary services as opposed to more conventional private client activities, such as transactional banking and lending. The bank currently oversees client assets that exceed 233-billion Swiss francs across three spheres of engagement: execution only, advisory, and discretionary investment portfolios.
Lombard Odier began its international expansion in 1951 when it established a presence in Montreal, Canada. It now has 26 offices in more than 20 countries. Each client in South Africa will have access to a dedicated investment advisor based in Geneva.
The bank chooses to evaluate clients on a case-by-case basis, it does not have any set requirements regarding profile or minimum criteria. The Swiss institution has an AA- rating, in part because it has survived 40 financial crises over the past 200 years.