Clement Ducasse co-founded Union Capital Group SA (“UCAP Group”) in 2006, a financial advisory boutique based in Geneva specializing in the sale of derivatives and structured solutions to professional investors. The Group experienced dramatic growth and diversified its activities in subsequent years. After successfully exiting their agriculture business, the emerging markets acquisition arm of the Group spun off under a different leadership, whereas the financial arm continued to grow steadily, creating the basis to build more infrastructural businesses and services.
Lawrence D. Howell (“Lonnie”), following a senior executive career at McKinsey, Coutts and Citibank, co-founded EFG International in 1995 and served as its Chief Executive Officer until June 2011. EFG was the most successful private banking start-up of its generation, listing at a pre-money valuation of CHF 3.9bn (CHF 5.4bn post money) on the Swiss stock exchange in 2005 and growing to a market capitalization of CHF 8.7bn at its peak in 2007. Lonnie left EFG in 2011, having established a global franchise of more than 800 bankers across 30 locations and durably positioning EFG as one of the top 10 Swiss private banks.
Following his departure from EFG in 2011, Lonnie and Clement met and discussed their vision to build a global financial services franchise on the foundations of UCAP Group. The cornerstone of the franchise was a Bank, one that they wished to establish de novo in a well regulated and business prone jurisdiction. After careful consideration, they selected The Bahamas and in 2013 partnered with Ludovic Chechin-Laurans, the founder of several banking entities for EFG and the Former CEO of EFG Bahamas, who was at the time heading the European business of EFG International, to take charge of the creation and operations of the new bank. Capital Union Bank Ltd was born.
UCAP Group was an early leader in product structuring and an innovator in capital markets. EFG revolutionized Swiss private banking as the first open architecture franchise for senior bankers. By the time of their association, Clement, Lonnie and Ludovic had already achieved success as entrepreneurs. With the conviction that the Financial Services Industry was not serving its purpose and was not properly addressing the needs of its customers and that large institutions remained inflexible and bureaucratic, they decided to combine their expertise and network in order to prepare the grounds for the next generation of financial services.
With the start-up phase of Capital Union Bank completed, the founders reached out to Patrick Zbinden in 2021 in order to scale-up the Bank, leveraging his expertise acquired as Head of M&A Integration of EFG International (25 acquisitions completed post-IPO) and in the building up of EFG Asset Management from a $3bn to a $30bn AUM franchise as Global Co-Head.
Today, Capital Union Bank owners and executives collectively possess a unique global skillset, uniting decades of collective experience gained across all major financial hubs in Asia, Europe and the Americas and across all main areas of financial services, including wealth management, asset management, capital markets and banking.
Capital Union Bank is the banking arm of the UCAP Group, which itself comprises a Securities Division, a Wealth Management Division and an Asset Management Division spread across Europe, North America and Asia under the common shareholder control of Lonnie Howell and Clement Ducasse. As was the case for EFG at its origin, UCAP Group provides a platform for industry veterans who have grown tired of large financial firms and wish to have more control on the running of their own operations. The UCAP ecosystem further extends to the UCAP Alliance, a network of firms which are not controlled by Messrs. Howell and Ducasse as majority shareholders and/or operate outside of the main business divisions of the UCAP Group. Alliance participants can leverage a network effect that is mutually beneficial to all of its members and allows UCAP Group to expand the range of professional services available to clients.