BiL opened branches in central Europe, and soon also in the British Isles and the Far East. It was during this time that it developed into a commercial bank with an increasingly international focus.
Conquering new frontiers: Internationalization and growth
BiL’s new internationalization strategy began with the arrival of a Swede: starting in 1981, Foundation Board Chairman Christian Norgren set the bank on a path towards expansion.
BiL became the first Liechtenstein financial institution to open a representative office abroad. The bank from the heart of Europe began operations in London on 28 January 1982. One year later, representative offices were also opened closer to Liechtenstein, namely in Lugano, Geneva and Zurich, where BiL specialized in investment advisory and asset management.
Expansion to Asia
In 1986, the year that BiL went public, the bank also expanded to Asia, which proved to be a forward-looking move: it opened its doors in Hong Kong.
Thanks to its thriving economy and low taxes, Hong Kong slowly but surely started to attract financial institutions from around the world. The city was hit hard by the Asian crisis of 1997 and 1998. And it was unclear whether it would recover. Many international banks withdrew from the location that had at first been extoled and then suddenly became uncertain. But not LGT.
Shortly after the turn of the millennium, the expansion to Hong Kong and Tokyo was followed by the opening of a bank in Singapore, which at the time was the only country in Asia with a triple A rating from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. LGT became one of the few private banks with an Asian booking center. The entire Asian market was served from Singapore.
The second decade of the 21st century was also characterized by expansion in Asia and the Middle East. In 2011, LGT obtained a banking license in Hong Kong, in 2012 it opened a branch in Dubai, in 2016 it acquired ABN AMRO’s private banking business in Asia and the Middle East and in 2019, it opened a branch in Bangkok.