Switzerland-based private bank Lombard Odier is expanding its services to the South African market, targeting clients looking to diversify their portfolios offshore.

The 222 year old bank will provide advisory and related services to the country’s high net-worth clients. 

Lombard Odier established a representative office in SA in June 2017 and was recently awarded a category one licence from the industry regulator, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), which will enable it to provide advisory services. 

“The bank is run by entrepreneurs and we have identified three perquisites for entering a new market,” said Martine Steinegger Allocca, a senior vice-president with the bank.

“This includes having a client base in the market, as well as being able to provide expertise at a level commensurate with our reputation. Finally, the market we enter needs to be well-regulated, and that is certainly the impression we have of the South African market.” 

Established in 1796, the bank focuses on investment advisory, execution and fiduciary services as opposed to more conventional private client activities, such as transactional banking and lending.

It currently oversees client assets that exceed 274-billion Swiss francs across three spheres of engagement: execution only, advisory, and discretionary investment portfolios. Each client in SA will have access to a dedicated investment advisor based in Geneva.  

Lombard Odier began its international expansion in 1951 when it established a presence in Montreal, Canada. It now has 27 offices in more than 23 jurisdictions. The bank has an AA- rating, in part because it has survived 40 financial crises’ over the past 200  years.

Lombard Odier does not have any set requirements regarding profile or minimum criteria, instead choosing to evaluate clients on a case-by-case basis, and intends to continue to grow in a measured way.