Tech hub to ri­val the best can rise in re­gion

Bright prospects as Swiss pri­vate bank opens of­fice

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - GREG WRIGHT DEPUTY BUSI­NESS ED­I­TOR Email: Twit­ter: @greg­wrigthyp

COL­LAB­O­RA­TION BE­TWEEN York­shire’s uni­ver­si­ties and en­trepreneurs could cre­ate a tech­nol­ogy hub that will em­u­late the suc­cess of Cam­bridge, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior fig­ure at a global pri­vate bank.

Martin Cuthbert, of Julius Baer, de­liv­ered an up­beat as­sess­ment of York­shire’s eco­nomic prospects as he cel­e­brated the open­ing of the Swiss pri­vate bank’s new of­fice in Leeds.

The Zurich-based group has hired a num­ber of ex­pe­ri­enced re­la­tion­ship man­agers to staff its of­fice in the Plat­form build­ing in Leeds. The of­fice has been opened as part its ex­pan­sion strat­egy across the North of Eng­land and Scot­land.

Plat­form is prop­erty com­pany Brunt­wood’s rede­vel­op­ment of the old City House build­ing above Leeds City Sta­tion. The de­vel­op­ment in­cludes a tech­nol­ogy in­cu­ba­tor to nur­ture a new gen­er­a­tion of en­trepreneurs.

Mr Cuthbert, who is the head of re­gion for North East Eng­land at Julius Baer, said: “There was a clear de­sire for the busi­ness to in­crease its foot­print around the UK.

“There’s a huge amount of wealth out­side the South East. The idea was re­ally to get our­selves out into the mar­ket­place and iden­tify hubs and the North of the UK was iden­ti­fied as a start­ing point.

“Julius Baer has got a track record of be­ing able to do this in the past. Ger­many, where we’re about to open our 10th of­fice, has been a prime ex­am­ple of that. We will be do­ing ex­actly the same thing; or­ganic growth tap­ping into mar­kets to make sure the brand builds its pres­ence and foot­print.”

He added: “York­shire is such a di­verse econ­omy. The op­por­tu­nity is ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic.

“You’ve got an ex­pand­ing pro­fes­sional ser­vices com­mu­nity and man­u­fac­tur­ing, the landed es­tates and tourism; there are so many dif­fer­ent el­e­ments to the econ­omy that makes it an at­trac­tive place to do busi­ness. We’re re­ally proud to rep­re­sent Julius Baer.”

Mr Cuthbert, who pre­vi­ously worked for Bar­clays Wealth Man­age­ment, has also been im­pressed by the strong ties be­tween York­shire uni­ver­si­ties and fast grow­ing start-ups.

He added: “You’ve only got to look at a build­ing like this and the busi­nesses that are start­ing up, par­tic­u­larly around tech­nol­ogy.

“We’ve got the hubs to sup­port those tech­nolo­gies from the uni­ver­si­ties, so you will get the kind of ef­fect you’ve had at Cam­bridge; with spin-offs around me­dia and tech­nol­ogy from the univer­sity.

“Those type of ar­eas, sup­ported by a strong man­u­fac­tur­ing base, will con­tinue to grow in York­shire.

“For a long time (Plat­form) was a bit of an eye­sore as you came into Leeds. Now you see it as a re­ally iconic build­ing.

“It does rep­re­sent that thriv­ing buzz that you can feel build­ing in the city and York­shire.”

Julius Baer em­ploys 250 peo­ple across the UK and Ire­land, with around 10 staff based in the new Leeds of­fice.

A Julius Baer spokesman said the firm planned to keep grow­ing the busi­ness and team over time.

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