UBS maintains top spot on private bank poll

Despite tough markets in 2001, the global top-10 private banks grew assets under management by 8%.

UBS Private Banking has maintained its number-one ranking in terms of global private banking assets under management, according to Scorpio Partnership, a London-based global wealth management think tank. UBS manages $433 billion, up from $416 billion in 2000, dominating the benchmark. The runner-up, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, has a mere $292 billion under its belt, up from $193 billion.

Rounding out the top five are Credit Suisse Private Banking, JPMorgan Chase Private Bank and Goldman Sachs, which released a detailed breakdown of its private client assets under management to Scorpio for the first time.

Deutsche Bank Private Banking, Citigroup Private Bank, Merrill Lynch International Bank, HSBC Republic and BNP Paribas complete the list.

Global Private Bank


UBS Private Banking
1 / 433
1 / 416
Morgan Stanley Dean Witterá
2 / 292
4 / 193
Credit Suisse Private Bankingá
3 / 265
2 / 286
JPMorgan Chase Private Banking
4 / 245
5 / 166
Goldman Sachs
5 / 230
- / N/A
Deutsche Bank Private Bankingá
6 / 196
6 / 178
Citigroup Private Bankingá
7 / 150
7 / 149
Merrill Lynch International Banká
8 / 136
3 / 200
HSBC Republic
9 / 135
8 / 103
BNP Paribas
10 / 92
10 / 100

All of these banks minus Goldman were also last year's top-10 asset winners, says Sebastian Dovey, director at Scorpio. Collectively their high-net worth assets under management rose 8% in 2001 from just under $2 trillion to $2.2 trillion.

"The market leaders have managed to sustain market share during 2001 in spite of market turbulence,"áhe notes. "The results indicate the industry can operate in a counter-cyclical manner to the rest of the financial markets. Looking ahead, the industry's future will depend on its ability to provide a safe haven for high-net worth clients."

The ranking is mainly based on assets sourced from outside the United States, or from American clients' international assets by global private banking institutions, says Dovey. He notes that it is industry practice to exclude the domestic assets of US clients. The majority of rich Americans invest mainly in domestic asset classes, whereas Asian and European clients will have a global portfolio. Also, the US institutions serving this domestic market often lack any global presence - so that, say, Mellon Bank is a huge high-net worth provider in the States, but its clients and its own reach don't pass the border.

The global numbers Scorpio has collated do come with several caveats. First, Morgan Stanley doesn't make distinct high-net worth private client accounts and non-HNW private client accounts; its figures also include mutual funds. Therefore Dovey says at a true private client level, Morgan Stanley's total assets under management are fewer.

The JPMorgan Chase numbers are also inflated, Dovey believes, as the released figures don't account for its sale of Fleming Offshore, Fleming Premier Banking and its South African private-client stock broking business.

The figure for Merrill Lynch has also been amended. Merrill declares $1.3 trillion in private client assets under management and administration, and Scorpio has stripped out those funds just under administration or custody.

Overall, Dovey says, the gainers have been Morgan Stanley, which rose from fourth to second; JPMorgan Chase, which benefited from the merger of JP Morgan and Chase Manhattan Bank; and HSBC Republic, which boosted assets under management by 30%. Merrill Lynch and CSPB slipped in the rankings but maintained top-10 positions.