Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Swiss private bank Edmond de Rothschild is closing its Hong Kong operations, according to three people familiar with the matter, more than two decades after it opened shop in the former British territory.

The Geneva-based bank and money manager, which had 167 billion Swiss francs (US$165 billion) of assets under management as of end June 2016, has already surrendered its China operating license and will run its Japan and Korea operations through its Swiss head office.

“This is part of a return to Europe strategy due to rising cost pressures,” said one of the people familiar with the matter, who declined to be named. A spokesman for Edmond de Rothschild declined to comment.

The 63-year-old bank opened in Hong Kong in 1992 and was among the first of a wave of boutique private banks seeking to capture the business of a rapidly growing class of affluent Asians.

Two of the people said the Hong Kong operation would close by the end of December.

Net income at the group declined 11 percent to 56 million Swiss Francs at the end of 2015 from a year earlier, according to its annual report.