Swiss bank Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild, will be shutting down its operations in Hong Kong, due to rising wealth management costs, according to an internal memo. The private bank has been operating in Hong Kong for over two decades and is also reconfiguring its operations in other parts of Asia. Rothschild has relinquished its operating licence in China, and its operations in Japan and Korea will be run from the head office in Switzerland. The bank terminated its Shanghai operations in May of this year. Having operated in Hong Kong since 1992, Edmond de Rothschild was among the first group of outsider banks to receive a Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor quota in 2006. Foreign banks in Asia have had a difficult few years, as competition has been mounting from local companies and countries such as India and Indonesia are enforcing policies to discourage investing overseas.
As at the end of June 2016, the bank had assets under management worth 167 billion Swiss Francs (£130.5 billion). According to their previous annual report, the group’s net income was down 11 percent to 56 million francs in 2015, from the year earlier. In 2014, the bank pushed to expand its Chinese operations by bringing in more senior bankers, to gain a strong position in corporate banking and trust planning. The bank even hired a new CEO for the Hong Kong office last year, Jing Zhang Brogle. However, the growing competition has been chipping away at the larger banks. The assets under management for the top twenty private banks in Asia had a 4 percent decline in 2015, to $1.5 trillion. Rothschild now plans to work in Asia via partnerships with local firms such as SMBC Nikko Securities and Samsung Asset Management.