Private Bank Country Awards 2010

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year's Private Bank Country Awards for Achievement.

Today we announce our Private Bank Country Awards for Achievement for 2010.

Once again, we will also be publishing our awards for the best private banks in each country in our upcoming September issue of FinanceAsia magazine together with our annual rich list, which ranks Asia's 100 wealthiest families based on dividend income. Be on the lookout for the September issue (which should land on your desk around September 15) for the rich list.


Bank of China

The performance of Bank of China’s private bank looks extraordinary during the reviewed period given the fact that the competition among both local and foreign private banks intensified during the past year, and the market saw, in some areas of the country, private banking service providers outpace the growth of high-net-worth individuals. The bank’s client base grew 43% to nearly 14,000 by the end of March 2010 from around 8,000 a year earlier. The bank’s comprehensive products and professional services have attracted clients. It also has secured a reputation as China’s most internationalised bank by offering wealth management services in Switzerland and Hong Kong.

The bank can’t afford to be complacent with its success as it is facing competition from local peers such as China Merchants Bank and foreign rivals such as HSBC, which both have excellent private banking services in the country. But it looks set to retain its leading position for some time.


HSBC dominates the retail banking scene in Hong Kong and when it comes to private banking it is the only domestic bank that is truly competing with the international banks, making it an obvious choice for Hong Kong residents as their wealth grows. Indeed it is one of the largest private banks in the world, with more than 1,700 employees in Asia alone. Like its international peers, it offers local as well as offshore savings products and investment solutions and it boasts one of the largest private banking advisory and investment counselling teams in Asia, with more than 100 professionals dedicated to providing investment ideas for its clients. HSBC is also very active in the management and transition of family wealth – an important business in Hong Kong where so many businesses are still family-owned. At the end of 2009, the bank had $122 billion of assets under management in Asia and its AUM in Hong Kong, which is one of its two private banking hubs in Asia alongside Singapore, grew by 31% last year.

Kotak Mahindra Bank

Kotak once again wins this award as it continues to stand out as the leading financial services player in India. The group manages $2.92 billion for more than 1,900 high-net-worth individuals who range from entrepreneurs and professionals to business families. The group can leverage its full range of financial services with 20,000 employees and offices not just in India but also the US, London, Dubai, Singapore and Mauritius. The group prides itself on being able to offer customised services based on clients’ profiles and investment objectives. In India, Kotak Group has been the pioneer in setting up institutional family office services, dedicated structured products services, and estate planning.

Bank Mandiri 

A common route for the cash accumulated by wealthy Indonesians is to Singapore. Historically, the city-state has been a safe-haven for both ill-gotten and well-earned riches, where international private banks and Singapore’s home-grown asset managers offer sophisticated services and discretion. This is still the case, of course, and in recent years that channel has become easier by the growing presence of many of those foreign banks in Indonesia’s major cities. But, Bank Mandiri increasingly offers a domestic stay-at-home alternative. Its large size, the security provided by government ownership and, most of all, its reputation for managerial excellence and customer support makes it an attractive option. Its joint-venture with French insurance giant AXA has also given a boost to Mandiri’s wealth planning and asset management business. Meanwhile, the bank is focusing on splitting its operations into organisation functions which will improve its dedicated private banking service, upgrade its information technology and infrastructure across branches, and improve the quality of its staff.

CIMB Private Banking 

CIMB remains the stand-out performer for private banking in Malaysia. And despite the country’s challenging market backdrop in 2009, the bank was still able to grow its private banking client base. It has upgraded its IT systems to facilitate its revenue generation and customer experience operations and set up specialised client-facing platforms for key clients, such as its high-net-worth clients. CIMB also spent the year expanding its fixed-income solutions, multi-currency structured products and alternative investments products. And key for many clients in Malaysia, it offers Islamic private banking services. As of April 2010, total assets under management at the private bank were M$6.72 billion ($2.1 billion), which is a 44% increase from a year earlier.

BDO Private Bank

With 42 relationship managers and 22 staff in its wealth advisory team, BDO Private Bank is the biggest local private bank in the Philippines. It has roughly 4,500 individual customers with an average portfolio of around Ps25 million – which translates to a total of Ps114 billion ($2.45 billion) under management. Despite the global financial crisis, and in part because of it, BDO has maintained its strong growth through 2009 and early 2010. As recently as 2003 the bank had just Ps7 billion under management. Five years later, at the start of 2009, that figure had grown 10-fold to Ps72 billion and rose another 50% in 2009 alone. The bank has six dedicated private banking “lounges” in the Philippines and offers the full range of domestic private banking services, including wealth advice, tax and estate advice, and family office.

Bank of Singapore (subsidiary of OCBC)

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation’s (OCBC) $1.5 billion purchase of ING Asia Private Bank, which was completed in February, immediately created a new force among Singapore’s domestic wealth managers. The new entity, called Bank of Singapore, tripled OCBC’s private banking assets to $23 billion, making it the city-state’s second biggest by asset size. Its 200 private bankers offer both advisory and discretionary services across a comprehensive range of products and services. Portfolio construction is based on the core-satellite model, combining wealth preservation with capital appreciation. The satellite portion is made up of growth-driven financial securities, especially Asian equities and fixed income as well as commodities and foreign exchange, and also through access to alternative investments, such as private equity and fund of hedge funds. It can boast, too, that it is the only dedicated private banking subsidiary in Singapore with Aa1 rating by Moody’s.

Samsung Securities Private Bank

Samsung Securities Private Bank has firmly established itself as the premier provider of asset management services for rich Koreans. But, since the global credit crisis, even wealthy investors and savers have become more risk averse, avoiding more complex and opaque structures for easy-to-understand vanilla products. The problem for Samsung is that any brokerage or bank can offer these. It responded last year by setting up a new customised platform of private banking service, which aims to better assess fund performance. Equally important, Samsung extended private banking services to all of its customers irrespective of income level. Meanwhile, it is strengthening its market position in the affluent Gangnam area in Seoul, where it plans to add four more branches this year to its existing 27 branches. It will also recruit 120 more private bankers on top of the 330 in the region. Polls consistently place Samsung well above all domestic rivals. 

Chinatrust Commercial Bank

Chinatrust’s ongoing efforts to adjust its services to its customers’ needs – whether they qualify as VIP customers (those with assets greater than NT$3 million ($94,720), Super VIP (assets above NT$15 million) or VIP To Be (assets between NT$1 million and NT$3 million) – and an increased focus on reduction of client risk enabled it to grow its fee income in 2009 even with the lingering effects of the financial crisis. At NT$6.4 billion, it earned 2.6 times as much fees as its closest competitor (Citi) and 3.2 times that of the next domestic bank (Taishin), driven by strong growth in the sale of mutual funds and bancassurance.
It also dominates the VIP segment of the market with a 16% market share, compared with a market share of just 9% for the second ranked bank, while its 75 overseas locations makes it highly competitive – even versus its foreign rivals -- as customer demand for cross border and overseas financial services is increasing.

Kasikornbankgroup Private Bank

As well as having the longest nameplate on the street, Kasikornbankgroup Private Bank also has the longest client list. With roughly 3,500 individual customers, it is more than twice the size of SCB Private Bank – and in terms of assets under management it is considerably bigger, managing Bt272 billion ($8.3 billion) compared to just Bt50 billion at SCB. And that number continues to grow as the associated perils of a global financial crisis and super-low interest rates have helped to encourage wealthy Thais to entrust their money to professional managers. During 2009, Kbank added 1,000 new clients to its books, grew its assets under management by 10% and its fee income by 42%. The bank offers a broad range of products, from money market instruments and mutual funds to structured investments and retirement savings schemes, with a dedicated staff of relationship managers to provide portfolio analysis and monitoring.

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