Benjamin Cavalli has been appointed as Credit Suisse's head of Southeast Asia and will also run its Singapore private banking arm, effective from October 1.
Based in Singapore, Cavalli will lead the private banking business in Southeast Asia, working closely with the respective teams in the region.
He will also focus on collaborating across Credit Suisse’s integrated bank — which combines both investment and private bank functions — to capitalise on the business opportunities in Southeast Asia.
Cavalli, who will report to Francesco de Ferrari, head of private banking Asia-Pacific, replaces Claudio de Sanctis. De Sanctis will be moving to Credit Suisse’s private banking EMEA region as head of private banking Northern and Eastern Europe.
Cavalli’s appointment comes at a time when some private banks are bowing out of Asia due to mounting costs and stricter regulation.
Royal Bank of Scotland is the latest victim. The UK-based bank announced in early August that it wanted to sell Coutts International, the overseas arm of the private bank that boasts Queen Elizabeth II and David Beckham among its clients — a move that could raise as much as $1 billion, according to market sources.
While it’s harder for smaller players to compete, the bigger companies in the sector such as Credit Suisse — of which its private banking business contributes to a large share to its profits — is able to grow comfortably in the Asian region.
For Credit Suisse, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for only 10% of the SFr1.3 trillion ($1.43 trillion) in private banking and wealth-management assets under management that it held globally in the first half of this year.
However, the Swiss bank’s total asset base in the region is growing at an astounding 16% year-on-year. In the first half of 2014, it also increased the number of relationship managers it has locally by 4% to 470.
“Asia Pacific is trended to become the wealthiest region in the world by the end of this decade and will overtake the US,” said de Ferrari to FinanceAsia. “The amount of financing that will be required to build these businesses in the region is going to be very interesting, and along with this there’s going to be a lot of wealth being created. That’s why you see a lot of interest from the global players in developing businesses in Asia.”
According to a Boston Consulting Group report in June, private wealth in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan rose by 30.5% to $37 trillion and is the fastest growing region globally.
With a projected compound annual growth rate of 10.5%, private wealth in the overall region will expand to an estimated $61 trillion by the end of 2018, the report said. At this pace, the region is expected to overtake Western Europe as the second-wealthiest region this year and to leapfrog North America as the wealthiest in 2018.
Cavalli joined Credit Suisse in November 2009 and was appointed Singapore market leader in April 2010. He has more than 20 years of experience in both investment banking and wealth management across Switzerland and Asia, more than 10 of which were focused on the Singapore market in a senior leadership capacity.
Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Cavalli was a head of key clients, Singapore, at UBS Wealth Management. He started his career in the Export Finance department at UBS in Switzerland in 1992 and also headed the Commodities, Structured Trade and Export Finance at UBS Investment Bank in Hong Kong from 1997 to 2000, before beginning his career in wealth management.