Private banks can thank markets for strong across-the-board AUM growth in 2019. Net new money inflows, which tended to be uneven among banks and lumpy at times: not so much. That’s because many investors, shellshocked from the dire end to 2018, were reluctant to jump back in, missed the early rally, and struggled to find an entry point thereafter.
As such, fixed income, cash management plays, and structured products drew the most interest, while private market assets, especially real estate, also garnered attention. Still, cash levels remained elevated for much of 2019, placing the onus on private banks to deliver compelling and relevant ideas to clients.
Asian Private Banker’s Asia (ex-China onshore) AUM League Table clearly reflects 2019’s healthy market performance. According to our data, the Top 20 private banks saw their combined AUM jump over 20% YoY to nearly US$2 trillion.
UBS Global Wealth Management retained its top ranking with US$450.0 billion, up 26% YoY, followed by Credit Suisse at US$227.3 billion. A resurgent HSBC Private Banking, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, and Julius Baer rounded out the top five.
EFG, the largest mover in 2019, posted a massive 74% increase, bringing its total to US$32.5 billion, largely due to its acquisition of Australian investment and wealth management firm Shaw and Partners, while CIMB Private Banking, whose footprint covers Southeast Asia, saw a hefty 55% rise with a minimal increase in RM headcount.
When accounting for geographical and business model variables, international and Asia-headquartered banks fared similarly, with 21% and 19% rises respectively, while pure play private banks’ combined AUM grew 24% versus universal private banks’ 20%.
Asia (ex-China onshore) AUM (US$ billion)
All figures are APB estimates unless otherwise stated. Numbers presented throughout may not add up precisely due to rounding. Individual bank footnotes available on ⓘ mouse hover.
Mid-market rates used as at 31 Dec for their respective years for non-USD reporting. For 2019: CHFUSD 1.03325; SGDUSD 0.74366; EURUSD 1.12270; CNYUSD 0.14334
N/A: not available
* Minimum represents investable assets per client (unless otherwise stated) and equivalent in other currencies; minimum may change depending on location
A word on methodology: while some banks publicly state their AUM totals, most do not. Therefore, the bulk of data presented here is shaped by our estimates. Also, we recognise that banks are inconsistent in the way they measure AUM. Some may include custodial assets or leverage, and totals may be distorted by double-counting. Where possible, our Top 20 League Table does account for the leverage variable. However, in the absence of enforced or agreed-upon standardisation and transparency, these inconsistencies will continue to undermine the direct comparability of individual banks’ AUM.
Furthermore, we have again decided to omit Citi and DBS from our Top 20 League Tables on the grounds that both banks include client assets from sub-private banking divisions in their respective totals. A large portion of those assets may be from HNWIs, and mass-affluent platforms invariably share some products and services with the private bank — the degree of overlap varies by bank. However, all banks have in place minimum requirements for clients that wish to be onboarded to a private banking service. Thus, to maintain the purity of our data, we only consider private banking-specific data and, where available, include minimum asset requirements.
Omissions** (US$ billion)
** Exclusion of Citi from the League Table is due to reported figures being an aggregate of Citi’s APAC consumer banking and private banking businesses; Exclusion of DBS from the League Table is due to reported figures being an aggregate of DBS Treasures, DBS Treasures Private Client, and DBS Private Bank businesses
ABN AMRO’s Asia and Middle East wealth businesses acquired by LGT in Dec 2016. Acquisition completed in May 2017.
Barclays’ wealth and investment businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore acquired by Bank of Singapore (OCBC) in Apr 2016. Acquisition completed in Nov 2016.
Coutts International acquired by UBP in Mar 2015. Acquisition of Hong Kong and Singapore businesses completed in Apr 2016.
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