CSPB launches global private banking centre in Singapore

The Swiss private bank extends its presence in Singapore with the launch of a new integrated service centre.

In a move that highlights the increasing importance of Singapore as a destination for private banking assets, Credit Suisse Private Banking (CSPB) has upgraded its branch in the city state to a new Global Private Banking Centre.

The move comes as the result of two years of back office work involving a project team of over 130 professionals. CSPB has in essence completely upgraded the levels of online and offline service at its Singapore branch in a radical new way. It is completely integrating both the online and offline interaction between its clients and the bank.

Electronically, the bank has introduced an extensive new internet platform which will allow clients to manage and trade their portfolios at any time of the day or night. Offline they have set up a 24 hour, multilingual telephone service centre manned by bankers as well as a new 24 hour concierge service centre. "This is a multi channel approach to customers," says Pierre Baer, branch manager of CSPB in Singapore. "It's a world first in terms of the scope of what we're offering รป the products, service and integration."

The bank had decided to embark on the new strategy in response to clients demanding a more hands on approach to managing their wealth. This has developed because a new younger generation of high net worth individuals have become clients of the bank. In this respect, CSPB's new centre is aimed at winning more wallet share from these clients as well as attracting new clients and new money. "We want to exceed our client's expectations," Baer comments.

To emphasize this point, CSPB will not be charging any money for its clients to use the service. Rather it is hoping that pay back will come from higher assets under management figures and higher transaction revenues. The new system also comes with an extensive back office customer relationship management function. This will let the bank's relationship managers to better see what clients are doing. It is hoped that this will enable the bank to retain and attract a high quality of private bankers as a result of the new level of client service that they can give.

Fundamentally, the system will allow the clients to trade, transact and manage their wealth at any time and in any language. This is designed so that clients can do what they want when they want. "It's about giving the client the convenience to choose so that whenever the client chooses to do something, we are there for the customer, not the other way around as most banks do it today."

It is unclear how much the bank has spent developing the new system, and whether or not it will revolutionize the relationship CSPB has with its Asian clients. It is a sign of growing commitment to Asian private baking and it certainly increases the already heated level of competition between the many rival banks in this space.

It is also comes at a time when Singapore is very actively establishing itself as the wealth management capital of Asia. The government has recently enacted new bank laws and the new Singapore Trust law. Combined with Singapore's traditional role as a safe haven, this makes Singapore a powerful new destination for the wealth of the world's rich.

Indeed, CSPB's new global private banking centre is as much an attempt to better serve the bank's Asian clients as it is to give additional options to the bank's traditional Swiss and European clients.

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