Top 4 Julius Baer Wealth Management Interview Questions
Julius Baer is a unique firm in that while they aren't a large "traditional" investment bank, they still rank roughly around the 8-12 spot in assets under management.
Julius is a bit unique in that they are quite a bit more secretive and insulated than other firms. They aren't going to promote themselves heavily to the general public and value discretion in their wealth managers above all else.
Everyone is different and part of your job as an applicant should be figuring out what kinds of clients you'd most like to deal with. If you're at a place like J.P. Morgan you will have the capacity to metaphorically spread your wings and try to drum up business wherever you can.
If you're at a place like Julius Baer you will not have the mandate to just go bring anyone on as a client. Baer has a criteria for who can and cannot be admitted as a client and you will be expected to comport yourself in a professional, discrete manner at all times.
There's no right or wrong answer to the kind of firm that's right for you -- it comes down to personal preference of the kinds of clients you want to deal with, the kinds of services you want to promote, and what your own mannerisms are.
Julius Baer Wealth Management Interview Questions
From talking with many who have interviewed at Julius Baer, you should anticipate the interviews being a bit more behavioral (and a bit less technical) than what you would have at a place like Goldman.
While it's still very important to know your technical questions - which is a large focus of the Wealth Management Interview Guide - you should make sure you have your behavioral questions down, which is what we'll be focusing on here. This is because Julius Baer cares much more about finding the right people as opposed to those who just know the most right out of the gate.
Part of showing that you understand the nature of the job you're applying for is being able to persuasively articulate who your idealized clients are.
Your answer to this question should cover a few different things:
- What age your clients are
- What the clients likely do for work (entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, etc.)
- What general range of wealth they have (low seven-figures, mid-seven figures, etc.)
You then will want to expound on why you think these kinds of folks would be your idealized clients. For example, if your clients will be young doctors who have a low-seven figure (but likely increasing) net worth then you want to explain that maybe your parents are doctors and you know the unique cycle in which doctors earn (very little until they're done residency and then accumulating a relatively large net worth quickly).
You can then further elaborate that because a doctor - in particular, a surgeon - can't keep working well into their seventies in most cases it's important to maximize their net worth during those few decades of high earnings and set them on a stable path for their few decades of retirement thereafter.
Julius Baer is known for attracting those who are going to be in wealth management for life. Unlike some of the larger American wealth managers, Baer is entirely uninterested in those who could see themselves one day leaving the industry. In fact, they're almost entirely uninterested in those who could see themselves one day leaving the firm for a competitor.
My own theory as to why Baer is so insistent on this point - while some other firms are much less so - is because of what we will talk about in the next section: Baer's desire for discretion to be placed above all else.
So how should you approach answering this question? Well, as always, you should be honest. An ideal answer will say that while you have considered other areas of finance, you find wealth management offers a unique set of opportunities that you believe work best for your personality.
In particular, you should focus on how wealth management is fundamentally a people business. This is in contrast to roles like investment banking, private equity, etc. where you will be in the weeds on analytical questions and not have the kind of long-lasting, interpersonal, client-centric relationships that you form in wealth management.
You should stress the importance of being able to serve clients -- connecting them to resources needed and guiding them through decades.
Julius Baer prides itself on discretion. It's one of the most common keywords that crops up when you talk to folks who are wealth managers there. This isn't too surprising, given the Swiss origin of JB.
While you should never give an answer to this kind of question that isn't true, you should also give an answer that conforms to what Julius Baer will expect out of their new wealth managers.
There are few things in wealth management - regardless of what firm we're talking about - that are more important than discretion. This is because when it comes to dealing with money discretion breeds trust and trust breeds continual business relationships.
As a firm, JB prides itself on offering generational services. By this I mean dealing with families over generations -- protecting and growing their wealth.
In order to really impress in an interview at JB I'd bring up how you value discretion, how you know this is critically important to wealth management clients, and how trust is earned, not given.
This is a bit of a clever question as there's no right or wrong answer without having to qualify your answer.
Generally speaking, how diverse a clients portfolio will be is contingent on:
- Their age (the younger they are, the more risk and thus concentration their portfolio can have)
- Their risk tolerance (the more risk-loving, as opposed to risk-adverse, they are then the more they will be inclined toward concentration)
- Their level of wealth (generally the more wealth one has, the more they are interested in preserving it as opposed to growing it further)
In an interview, you should lay out these three criteria. Then you should go over who you imagine your idealized clients are. To carry forward our previous example, we said that our idealized clients would be young doctors.
Therefore, we would imagine they would have a less diverse portfolio than normal as they are young, trying to grow their wealth relatively quickly (not just preserve it), and probably have a higher risk tolerance than older, more established clients.
In many parts of the world, Julius Baer is synonymous with discretion and prestige. Despite being relatively small - compared to the largest investment banks, including those from Switzerland - they have nearly half a trillion dollars in assets under management.
Julius Baer, unlike many other firms, is not looking to hire those who are undecided on wealth management or feel as though they may end up leaving the industry. They are looking for sober, serious people who have thought deliberately about their decision to join the wealth management industry.
While this can sound daunting, the reality is that the interviews tend to be more behavioral than technical due to wanting the right people (rather than just those who know their technicals).
Given that their interview process tends to be long - often stretching multiple hours - you do need to know your technicals well. I'd recommend going through the Wealth Management Interview Guide to get a feel for what kind of more "technical" questions you could expect (along with many more behavioral questions). You can also read more wealth management interview questions here.