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Julius Baer Reverts London FX to Zurich

Bank Julius Baer has converted its London office from a full banking branch to a subsidiary focusing on asset management. As part of the move, the bank will no longer have a treasury function in London, says Mark Linnan, deputy global head of FX.

Linnan says the bank had a small FX operation in London, with “two-and-a-half” people primarily engaged in a sales capacity. “The London-based clients have been successfully transferred to Zurich and our plans for the immediate future are for them to continue to be covered from head office,” he says.

“A couple of years ago (November 1998) we elected to globalise foreign exchange, with the primary hub in head office. So the decision to transfer our small London FX operation to Zurich was not a huge change. Part of the efficiency of globalisation is that we have tried, whenever possible, to avoid double coverage in the same time zone. Many in the industry have begun to adopt this strategy as well,” says Linnan.

As a result, one FX trader, as well as London-based treasurer Henry Wilkes, have left the bank, while FX trader Mark Taylor transferred to BJB Guernsey to focus on balance sheet products. The Guernsey office has been made a treasury centre.

Separately, the bank has hired Stephan Jaeger from Credit Suisse First Boston in Zurich to oversee FX global options and broaden the product base to include FX-structured products. Current co-heads of options, New York-based Walter Simon and Zurich-based Christoph Kummli, will now report to Jaeger, who joins on 1 October.

Jaeger will report to Linnan, who will transfer to Zurich later this year to assume his new role as global head of FX on 1 January 2001. “With the advent of the euro and growing influence of the Internet, high net worth individuals’ needs are increasing in sophistication. Stephan will help us craft customised solutions to their requirements. He is part of a renewed focus in FX on Julius Baer’s primary strength, the private banking client base,” says Linnan

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