Julius Baer maintains risk strategy amid $700 million Signa exposure

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Julius Baer maintains risk strategy amid $700 million Signa exposure
Credit: © Reuters.

LONDON - At the FT Global Banking Summit today, Philipp Rickenbacher, CEO of Julius Baer, stood by the bank's risk management approach despite the institution facing a $700 million exposure due to the financial troubles of Signa. The downturn of Signa, a prominent real estate and retail group, has resulted in its shares declining for over eight days, following the company's move towards a debtor-in-possession restructuring after failing to secure emergency funding.

Julius Baer, which had previously reported a 606 million Swiss francs ($632 million) exposure related to Signa's owner Rene Benko, has taken measures to brace for potential losses. In early November, the bank set aside 70 million francs ($73 million) for loan-loss provisions, reflecting a cautious stance in light of the unfolding situation.

Despite these challenges, Rickenbacher conveyed a sense of optimism about the bank's future. He reaffirmed Julius Baer's goal of reaching $1 trillion in assets under management. This ambitious target echoes the bank's growth trajectory following its acquisition of Merrill Lynch's wealth management arm and its recovery from past compliance scandals. Rickenbacher also alluded to aggressive hiring plans, signaling confidence in the bank's strategy and resilience.

The full impact of Signa's insolvency on Julius Baer's financials remains to be seen, but the bank's leadership appears committed to navigating through the turbulence while pursuing growth opportunities.

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