Awards for Distinction 2014 – South Korea


AFD2014_Best Private Bank - South Korea

Hana Bank

Hyung-Il Lee

Hyung-Il Lee
Head of Private Banking
Hana Bank

Whilst South Korea’s 3.4% GDP increase failed to meet forecasts and the KOSPI index was flat in 2014, the nation’s high net worth individual (HNWI) population and wealth both experienced stellar growth, reaching 176,500 and US$477 billion respectively, according to latest estimates. With a lack of direction in equity markets, uncertain fixed income markets, and a stagnant economy, private banks were ever more important in helping to grow and preserve the wealth of South Korea’s HNWIs.

For all the nation’s lacklustre headlines, Hana Bank’s private banking business continued its growth unimpeded, expanding its assets under management and client base by 10.5% and 9.3%, respectively. In fact, the 43-year old lender is South Korea’s leading recipient of HNWIs’ deposits and will look to significantly widen the gap following the completion of its merger with Korea Exchange Bank (KEB), which it acquired in 2012. Furthering its vision to operate as a single integrated financial group, the private bank also benefitted from significant referral business from Hana Bank’s securities and investment banking arm, especially from the owners of freshly-listed companies.

Recognising client appetite for high-yield products and hopes to capture returns in a flat market, Hana Bank found yet another metric to lead the industry. Its distribution of long-short strategies is nearly level with the next three banks combined and its sale of high-yield products also beats the local competition by a wide margin. Demonstrating a commitment to clients beyond sales, Hana Bank’s proprietary risk management system, Hana portfolio Early Analysis & Diagnosis (HEAD), offers clients an overview of their portfolio via desktop or tablet, while facilitating rebalancing exercises. HEAD, destined for a patent, also takes into account the varying levels of competency amongst Hana Bank’s relationship managers and adjusts its functions accordingly to minimise judgment risk.

Hana Bank is also a pioneer in wealth transferral advisory, having established early frontier footing in tax, real estate, and legal consulting within the financial services industry. This early mover advantage has benefitted the private bank as the business now offers a steady flow of new client relationships, while more than 80% of the users of wealth transferral services have grown their account sizes by an additional 30% to 40%.

Hana Bank is not resting on its laurels. It is harnessing important data to find other pockets within the financial group that the private bank is underutilising, such as overlooked retail branches with large accounts that could benefit from expanded private banking services. Technologically, the Korean lender continues to find new ways to digitally innovate its marketing and communications interface. For its constantly innovating business and its groundbreaking usage of cutting-edge technologies, Hana Bank has been awarded the Best Private Bank – South Korea in 2014.