Who are Asia’s top private banks and wealth managers in 2017?

As the growth of wealth and millionaires in the Asia-Pacific surpasses the rest of the world, private bankers and wealth managers have seen their ships rise with the tide. The Asset here announces the winners of The Asset Triple A Private Banking and Wealth Management Awards 2017.

Winners of awards reported as much as a 30% growth during the first quarter of 2017 alone, and as much as a 20% growth year-on-year ending March 31.

“We’re (the private banking unit) the best performing business in our whole bank so far this year. We’re becoming the focus of (unwanted) attention, and you know private banking is all about discretion. We kept a low profile,” says the chief executive officer (CEO) of a private bank which is one of the top winners in the awards.

Reflecting the rapid growth in the number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) with at least US$5 million in investible assets, one of the private bank awardees posted an extraordinary 78% year-on-year growth in client acquisition during the award period which covered the 12 months ending March 31 2017.

Asia-Pacific recorded robust HNWI population and wealth growth rates (9.4% and 9.9%, respectively). This is the highest across the globe, and edges past North America to become the region with the highest HNWI wealth of US$17.4 trillion, according to the World Wealth Report 2016, published by Cap Gemini.

When asked where the growth is coming from, private bank CEOs cited the strong “conversion of business” by their relationship managers (RMs) or private bankers.

“For both our existing RMs and the new RMs, the conversion of business is at a very healthy level of 55%,” says the CEO of another private bank.

Needless to say, the banks have also stepped up recruitment of private bankers to service their clients and their fast-growing business, thus, raising the salary and compensation levels for private bankers and wealth managers in the industry overall.

Although staff movement is confidential there are reports that Deutsche Bank will hire an additional 50 private bankers, Credit Suisse will hire 50, and UBS will hire 100 private bankers over the next 12 months.

“We don’t advertise when we hire people but we’ve hired 20 bankers in the last six months,” says the chief executive officer of a top private bank.

It is in this context that we announce the winners of this year's awards:

Best Private Bank, Asia
Honoured as Best Private Bank for Asia is Citi Private Bank, which was recognized for its continuing excellence in providing access to local and global markets, as well as delivering comprehensive investment strategies with the potential for attractive risk-adjusted returns. This is the fourth year in a row that Citi has won this award.

Private Banker of the Year, Asia
Honoured as Private Banker of the Year, Asia, is Andrew Cohen, chief executive officer of J.P.Morgan International Private Bank. Based in Hong Kong, although he now has a global role, Cohen led the Asia business until September 2016. He was responsible for building and strengthening the Asia business which performed even during challenging times.

Best Private Bank, Asia – UHNWIs
The Best Private Bank, Asia, for Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UNHWIs) went J.P. Morgan Private Bank. The bank posted strong net new asset growth coming from Greater China resulting from the inflow of new assets.

Best Private Bank, Hong Kong – HNWIs
The Best Private Bank, Hong Kong, for High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) is Bank of China International Ltd (BOCIL). With a solid foundation in Hong Kong, BOCIL has extended its reach to the markets of North Asia, Southern Asia, India and Europe, enjoying double-digit growth in assets under management (AUM). As of March 2017, BOCIL manages over 1,300 client relationships with total AUM close to US$10 billion.

Best Private Bank, China – HNWIs
Recognized as the Best Private Bank for China, HNWIs, is China Merchants Bank (CMB). Along with the renminbi internationalization and capital globalization, the percentage of HNWIs who have already invested in overseas markets has increased and CMB is providing superior services to this client segment when compared to their peers.

Best Boutique Private Bank, Asia
Julius Baer is recognized as the Best Boutique Private Bank, Asia, which is the top award for pure-play private banks. Given its pure business focus, not having an investment banking division and not active in commercial lending, Julius Baer continued to post strong growth in new businesses as well as its capabilities.

Best Wealth Manager, Asia
DBS is recognized as the Best Wealth Manager for Asia. DBS’ unique business model and sophisticated high technology platform puts it at the forefront of the fast-growing wealth management industry in Asia, particularly catering to tech-savvy millennials.

Best Boutique Wealth Manager, Hong Kong
London & Capital is recognized as the Best Boutique Wealth Manager, Hong Kong. London & Capital’s pioneering business model has caught on in the industry. During the award period it has maintained its competitive edge and is focused on expanding its capabilities.

The winners will be honoured at a gala dinner at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong on September 19.

For a complete list of winners, please click here.