Awards for Distinction 2018 – Private Banker of the Year

2018 Winners – Distinction

Private Banker of the Year

François Monnet

François Monnet
head of private banking, North Asia,Credit Suisse

It is an absolute honour to be named the Private Banker of the Year. I am privileged to be a part of Credit Suisse, and all the achievements from the Asian Private Banker awards go to all my colleagues across the bank who worked tirelessly to drive the successes we have achieved, even during challenging market conditions in 2018. The opportunities in the wealth management industry are boundless and the private banking business is still at a nascent growth stage. I look forward to capturing these growth opportunities together with my team.
There’s a certain irony in the fact that a Swiss banker is pushing the envelope in terms of what constitutes effective Asian private banking. But François Monnet, Credit Suisse’s head of private banking for North Asia, is no conformist and, in fact, one suspects he revels in red teaming long-held beliefs about how the craft should be plied.To be sure, Monnet represents an institution whose integrated model and culture promotes out-of-the-box thinking and agility in decision-making and execution. One only need look at Credit Suisse’s performance over the better part of this decade to see just how potent the regional business is in terms of delivering performance across market cycles and imbuing leadership with a high degree of agency to pursue a vision for the business. And Monnet is a standing case of what can be achieved when the right tools are put in the hands of a leader with a penchant for strategy, an obsession with detail, and the resolve to execute.

Under his leadership in Greater China, the private bank has rediscovered its mojo after an earlier period of instability. In the past few years alone, the business has posted significant double-digit growth in AUM, record NNA inflows, pronounced increases in PTI and revenues across all streams, and, fundamentally, an improvement in operating efficiency.

Monnet has driven this growth in large part by bringing greater discipline to the business, with his systematic approach to key account management yielding impressive results, both in terms of reactivating dormant or under-realised UHNW relationships and driving up banker productivity. No mere administrator, Monnet also leads from the front when it comes to demonstrating what can be achieved through effective cross-collaboration. His track record in marshalling the organisation’s full firepower has led to a litany of major successes over the past 24 months and a significant increase in the bank’s share of entrepreneur-led activity in Greater China.

Furthermore, Monnet has cast an indelible imprint on the bank — and, we dare say, the wider industry — by challenging long-held assumptions about clients’ willingness to engage digitally with their private banking providers. As the bank’s APAC COO between 2012 and 2016, he played a central role in planning, developing, and delivering Credit Suisse’s market-leading Digital Private Banking platform in Asia.

A bona fide game changer, the bank’s digital private banking platform is noteworthy for its ever-expanding set of functions and high rate of adoption among Credit Suisse’s ultra-skewed base. That it resonates so strongly with the bank’s clients is testament to Monnet’s obsession with problem-solving common pain points. Thus, it was unsurprising when Monnet threw his weight behind third-party account aggregation solution Canopy, recognising that Credit Suisse’s multi-banked clients demand a consolidated view of their holdings across institutions. His thesis is bold: if clients are aware of any sub-optimality in their overall asset allocation and are provided with the means to compare performance between banking providers, then they will ultimately concentrate their activities with one or a few preferred wealth managers.

Monnet welcomes the scrutiny Canopy brings, such is the degree of his conviction in Credit Suisse’s offering. He firmly believes the decision to encourage peer comparison is necessary for the private bank’s relationship with the client, a chance for Credit Suisse to demonstrate its relative contribution, and a welcome opportunity to expose the bank to competition.

François Monnet is Asian Private Banker’s Private Banker of the Year for 2018.