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B Capital on the opportunities in the UK wealth market
by Elsa Buchanan on Sep 11, 2013 at 13:55
Boutique private bank B Capital is planning a push into Asia, but founder and chief executive Lorne Baring says the UK still offers plenty of opportunities.
The firm, which has offices in both London and Geneva, runs $500 million (around £320 million) on the behalf of 20 clients, of which 35% are UK-resident finance professionals.
While he acknowledges being in no hurry to start targeting the ‘very tax driven’ UK market, Baring said it ‘still has plenty of potential.’
He told Wealth Manager: ‘The UK is an attractive market for international wealth managers who are looking for clients benefiting from the favourable tax treatment of non-domiciled, or ‘non doms’.
‘The demand for luxury London properties is an indicator that the wealthiest people in the world are showing strong interest in the UK as an investment destination as well as for residence.’
That said, he hints at a prospective shift in strategy, saying: ‘B Capital could enter the UK domestic market in the future but our specialisation today is international high net worth individuals (HNWI) and their families and this is what works well for us.’
Beyond the UK, Baring is turning to Asia, where he is already planning B Capital’s next push.
‘Asia is interesting and will be more in focus for B Capital in the future because of the superior growth of the wealth market there when compared to the more mature markets in the West,’ he said, pointing to Russia and China as potential target markets.
Baring said he was already expecting to take on ‘one or two clients worth hundreds of millions’ from these regions.
He points to a Cap Gemini market study, which indicates that the wealth market grows by a similar amount to the GDP of the region. ‘Currently the HNWI growth rate in Asia is even higher than that. For that reason Asia is attractive as a future wealth market as it is growing at over 12% a year versus much less here in Europe.’
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