Julius Baer, Siam Commercial Bank set up venture to tap Thai wealth

HONG KONG, March 8 (Reuters) - Swiss private bank Julius Baer Gruppe AG and Siam Commercial Bank Pcl (SCB) , Thailand’s second-largest bank by assets, are forming a joint venture to tap the growing wealth in the Southeast Asian country.

Julius Baer will hold 40 percent of the joint venture’s initial registered capital of 1.8 billion baht ($57.53 million) while SCB will own 60 percent, the two firms said on Thursday. Julius Baer will have the option to increase its stake in the venture to 49 percent over time.

“The cooperation will immediately complement SCB’s existing private banking capabilities whilst opening access for Julius Baer to the fast-growing Thai wealth management market,” according to a joint statement.

Thailand’s overall wealth market is estimated to be around $300 billion, with a rapidly growing population of high net worth individuals of about 30,000, according to the BCG Global Wealth Report 2017.

The nation’s growing economy and rising wealth has already lured some global private banks to set up an onshore presence, with Credit Suisse launching its wealth management in Thailand in 2016. ($1 = 31.2900 baht) (Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)