12 May 2017 |

Credit Suisse to launch digital advisory platform in Asia soon

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Credit Suisse, which is looking to grow its fee-based business in the region, plans to launch its digital advisory platform for HNWIs in Asia within weeks, sources tell Asian Private Banker.

According to sources, the bank is planning a soft launch before the end of May, followed by a broader rollout.

A spokesperson from the bank could not be reached for comment.

UBS Wealth Management is another major player with a digital advisory platform for private banking clients in the region, having launched UBS Advice in Hong Kong and Singapore in March 2014.

Though Credit Suisse has not shared the differences between the two banks’ offerings with Asian Private Banker, it is believed that Credit Suisse’s platform will deliver advice directly to clients. In contrast, advice from UBS’ platform first reaches the bank’s relationship managers before they use their discretion to meet client needs.

Credit Suisse’s APAC private banking head Francesco de Ferrari told Asian Private Banker in March that the bank planned to launch its digital platform in the second quarter of 2017. He expected a healthy reception to the platform in both the broader market and within the UHNW segment.

“So I think even an ultra-high client will find a lot of value in the advisory service – maybe he/she is not going to pay you 1.2% all-in, but that’s a question of price,” de Ferrari said.

“But I would be surprised if they don’t appreciate this kind of service. I have gone through this in my previous job in Italy [CEO, Credit Suisse Private Banking, Italy], I remember enormous resistance at the beginning, but in the end, clients were a lot readier to adapt to it than the RMs.”

Despite the continued growth of Asia’s private banking industry – the top 20 players grew AUM by 6.1% YoY (to reach a combined US$1.5 trillion) in 2016, according to Asian Private Banker’s latest AUM League Table – many banks are still struggling to secure long-term recurring income streams.

Excessive reliance on active client trading can prove taxing in a year like 2016, when market beta was lacklustre and transactional incomes at some private banks dropped by as much as 30%.

In 2016, DPM penetration rates in the industry, according to APB Mandate, averaged approximately 8%, up from around 7.5% in 2015.

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