Best Private Bank – China Domestic
China Merchants Bank
A decelerating domestic economy, unrelenting Sino-US tensions, and a more rigorous regulatory environment would not appear to be conducive factors for any private bank operating in China. Yet, 2019 was incredibly fruitful for China Merchants Bank as it managed to excel through its commitment to long-term, quality growth.
China Merchants Bank started off the year with a comprehensive business review to explore ways it could differentiate itself in an extremely competitive landscape. This review prompted a revamp of the bank’s product platform, technology systems, and risk controls, resulting in a wholesale upgrade that ultimately led to a better client experience.
In the thick of these resource-intensive upgrades, CMB additionally initiated a systematic investment plan for private equity — a much sought after asset class among wealthy Chinese individuals — and built a data analysis lab and online private banking platform from the ground up.
It made several breakthroughs in its family trust business, introducing a new range of trust models to its platform, such as the ‘staff incentive trust’ and ‘investment-right reserved family trust’, to better help clients plan their estates and legacies. China Merchants Bank’s focus on wealth and succession planning extended to its philanthropy business. For family offices, or those with around US$500 million in assets, the bank adopted a new service model to assume a more active role in assisting its ultra clientele with their philanthropic endeavours.
The satisfaction of clients as a result of these changes is clearly reflected in the lender’s performance results and, in particular, its growth in AUM and client accounts.
While China Merchants Bank already boasts the largest AUM total in China, it managed to bump invested assets past the RMB 2.2 trillion mark, while accounts grew by nearly 15% to reach over 80,000 clients. Both feats are especially impressive in view of the prevalence of risk events in 2019 and the fact that clients and their assets were attained, not through expensive campaigns, but through smarter customer acquisition and retention models.
With wholehearted dedication to enriching the client experience, China Merchants Bank has thrived amid intensifying competition, meeting client needs through constant revitalisation and innovation to distinguish itself as China’s leading onshore private bank.
China Merchants Bank is Asian Private Banker’s Best Private Bank – China Domestic for 2019.