In a bid to capture more of the private wealth business that every private bank in Asia seems to be chasing, Credit Suisse has strengthened its Greater China private banking team with the addition of two senior bankers from BNP Paribas.
The Swiss private bank appointed Eddy Sze as a managing director and market leader for Greater China, effective from July 16. He will be based in Hong Kong reporting to Anna Wong, market area head for Greater China. Sze has 28 years of experience in private and corporate banking and was previously head of the China wealth management team at BNP Paribas.
Richard Wong joins as a director and team leader for Greater China and will report to Sze. At BNP Paribas he was the China market adviser in the wealth management business and has more than 30 years in private and corporate banking across Asia, including spells at Citi and Royal Bank of Canada.
“As an increasingly integrated trade and economic zone, Greater China offers tremendous opportunities and is a key growth engine for our regional private banking business,” said Wong in a statement.
As well it should be. There’s no question China is producing a prodigious amount of wealthy people. What is up for debate is how many. According to the results of a survey conducted by the Huron Report and released in March, there are roughly 2.7 million high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) with assets of more than Rmb6 million ($950,000). And there are 63,500 ultra-high-net-worth individuals with assets worth $15.8 million or more.
However, the most recent (October 2011) update of the Capgemini-Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific Wealth Report found that Japan is the behemoth HNWI market in Asia-Pacific, home to 1.7 million or 52.5% of the region’s HNWIs. The report found that China was the next largest, but far behind, with just 535,000, or 16.1%.
The truth is no doubt somewhere between these two figures. But nonetheless it’s obviously an enticing target.