Michael Bär is the great-grandson of the founder of the Julius Bär private bank in Zürich. The MBaer Merchant Bank's heritage dates back to 1890, when Julius Bär laid the foundations for a long tradition of banking in Zurich, in partnership with Hirschhorn & Grob.
Michael Bär was a member of the Group Executive Board of Julius Bär Group AG for many years but in 2015 he decided to set up a new merchant bank.
«I have been a banker all my life and have learned to listen to the client. It is essential to be able to put yourself in your client's shoes. That's what we do at MBaer Merchant Bank.»
In doing so, he was keen to bear in mind the original idea behind merchant banks. After all, those banks were in fact the first modern banks to be set up by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
The origins of merchant banking
Its history can be traced back to Italy in the late Middle Ages. It emerged out of a consortium of Italian merchants who were trading mainly cloth and grain in the piazzas and market places of Lombardy. The merchants formed an association which acted as an organized money market for traders who financed the business transactions of other traders.
Simplifying the trading of goods
Soon, a number of traders began to trade in crop debt and future grain harvests, instead of in actual grain. This allowed farmers to secure the sale and the price of future harvests. So the main purpose of these organizations was to simplify the trading of goods. The term "merchant", which means "trader" in Old French, also dates from this decisive period.
Merchant banks today
Nowadays, modern merchant banks can offer a far wider range of services than their medieval predecessors. They appeal equally to discerning investors, companies, foundations and financial intermediaries such as family offices, by offering a finely tuned model.
The bank for entrepreneurs
This is the model that Michael Bär has taken to heart and redefined as he understands it. His guiding principle was to regard the business owner, their business and their family as a single entity and offer all the required services under the same roof. Working with longstanding partners, entrepreneurs and a team of experienced bankers, he laid the foundations on which MBaer Merchant Bank AG is built.
In December 2018, the Swiss Financial Supervisory Authority FINMA granted MBaer Merchant Bank AG the Swiss Banking License.