BEST PRIVATE BANK – CHINA DOMESTIC
CHINA MERCHANTS BANK
If there is one market globally that stimulates both excitement and trepidation among private banks, it’s China. Most private banks operating in Asia will readily agree that China is the toughest nut to crack, citing regulatory hurdles and the complex human terrain as key hurdles, but few would agree that China can be disregarded.
Onshore, the private banking space remains in its nascency, although the sheer scale of the market in terms of population and wealth creation means that a number of domestic institutions have themselves achieved considerable scale in recent years.
China Merchants Bank (CMB), winner of the Best Private Bank – China Domestic award for 2016, has been a major benefactor of rapid onshore wealth creation, with assets under management reaching a mammoth RMB1,423.7 billion and client numbers swelling to 53,954 midway through 2016 (private banking clients must have minimum total daily average assets of RMB10 million per month).
Scale itself is no guarantee of quality, however, and CMB Private Banking spent 2016 further developing and refining its offering to remain ahead of a rapidly evolving industry of ‘traditional’ private banks and wealth managers.
Key recent initiatives include a “scientific” asset allocation system that has been configured for the China market, the implementation of what the bank calls the “4-Step Spiral Lifting Working Method” – a process designed to ensure that clients are consistently presented with the most suitable solutions – and the introduction of a door-to-door offering to complement its global hotline, whereby managers can provide core services to clients “outside” the bank.
And, reflecting a growth in demand for wealth planning services in China, CMB Private Banking further added to its team of tax consultants and legal advisors, while enhancing its consultancy services for immigration, children’s education and private collections.
Ultimately, CMB Private Banking rounded out 2016 with healthy pre-tax profits and a cost/income ratio well-below the offshore industry average. Furthermore, the bank is well-positioned to increase its share of the international Chinese market, with a growing network of overseas branches, including in Singapore, Luxembourg and New York.
China Merchants Bank is Asian Private Banker’s Best Private Bank – China Domestic for 2016.