"We're independent and we're proud" could be the Julius Baer Group's company motto.
The firm is not interested in the merger mania that is spreading through the investment management community.
"Our biggest sales pitch" these days "is that we are independent and will remain so," declares Peter J. Widmer, chairman of the New York-based institutional group company. While he maintains that size is important for some financial or banking activities, size doesn't necessarily translate into good performance.
Indeed, he believes vows of managerial celibacy -- a determination not to marry another firm -- are appealing to clients who have become weary of the transformations among managers.
"Clients hate all this merger activity," said Mr. Widmer. In some cases, "as soon as they hire a manager," they find it has paired with another firm.
He gives two key reasons Julius Baer won't be walking down any metaphorical aisles: It is controlled by Switzerland's Baer family and corporate management, which do not want to sell their stake; and more importantly, the firm, with $60 billion under management, sees "plenty of opportunities" for further business growth in Europe and in the United States. "We think we can grow as fast as we can manage internally, through what we do," he said.
This determination to remain "single" evidently has not hurt business. Last year the firm enjoyed its best year ever in growth of new business; and by mid-May, its U.S. institutional arm will have participated in six global bond searches this year already, said the firm's vice chairman Jay A. Dirnberger.