(Bloomberg) -- Julius Baer Group Ltd. plans to ramp up hiring in Asia, after the reopening of China helped to restore client confidence in the region, according to the head of the Swiss private bank.

“We are clearly hiring in Asia where we have a full pipeline in Hong Kong and a full pipeline in Singapore,” Chief Executive Officer Philipp Rickenbacher said in a Bloomberg TV interview with Manus Cranny. “This will change the game as now China reopens.”

Although the nation’s reopening bodes well for the region and wider global economy, Julius Baer has “no immediate plans” to go onshore in China, Rickenbacher said. “We have a very strong offshore franchise and we want to keep it that way.”

The Zurich-based lender joins other Swiss money managers like UBS Group AG planning to hire in Asia on expectations that business will pick up after a difficult couple of years following the Covid pandemic. 

Shares in Julius Baer were trading were trading down 0.9% at 09:40 a.m. in Zurich. 

Julius Bear has also made a big expansion push in the Middle East. It set up an advisory office in Qatar last year and is growing its team in Dubai. 

The bank posted better-then-expected inflows of clients funds last year and met cost and profitability targets for 2022. The company also announced the completion of its most recent share buyback earlier this week. 

Under the program, Julius Baer repurchased about 7.8 million shares for 400 million Swiss francs ($424 million) and the bank will look at the possibility of another share buyback at the end of the year, Rickenbacher said. 

--With assistance from Manus Cranny.

(Update with share price in fifth paragraph.)

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.