Awards for Distinction 2019 – Best Private Bank – Integrated Platform

Best Private Bank Integrated Platform


Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management Asia

Best Private Bank – Integrated Platform

Vincent Chui

head of Asia wealth management, Morgan Stanley and chief executive, Morgan Stanley Bank Asia Limited

“At Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management Asia (PWM Asia), we thrive on providing UHNW clients with access to an integrated platform comprising best-in-class global capital market, advisory and product talent. We embrace complexity and individuality to deliver to clients the most suitable and creative solutions. In 2019, this model worked well. At a time when many firms consolidated during a very challenging and volatile operating environment, we accelerated growth and achieved strong financial results. To demonstrate our commitment to the WM business in Asia, we upgraded our Hong Kong incorporated banking entity to a full licensed bank and renamed it ‘Morgan Stanley Bank Asia Limited’. We call Asia home and operating out of our hubs in Hong Kong and Singapore, we are well placed to help clients manage the wealth and investment needs of their families and companies. As our clients navigate through challenges posed by COVID-19 and associated social economic issues in 2020, we strive to leverage our integrated platform to help clients achieve their wealth and investment objectives in this environment.”

Winners rationale

That Morgan Stanley’s Asia Private Wealth Management franchise has gone from strength to strength over the past few years is in no small part down to how the bank — which places tremendous emphasis on the quality of its institutional securities and global research backbone and ideas — operates as a cohesive and coordinated unit at the client interface.

This is something most, if not all, universal and retail-linked banks strive for, and it would be fair to say that for those banks that do — including Morgan Stanley — the mission to realise the desired degree of integration across divisions and activities is always a work in progress. But Morgan Stanley continues to take meaningful steps — operationally and strategically — to enhance its delivery of advice, ideas, and solutions to clients whose needs typically draw on the full capabilities of the group.

To achieve this, Morgan Stanley installed a Strategic Advisory Solutions (SAS) unit in the region whose function is to enhance collaboration between the private wealth management and investment banking arms and, ultimately, drive cross-selling activities.

Indeed, SAS is a vital piece in Morgan Stanley’s one-banking proposition because, as evidenced elsewhere in the industry, the one-bank ‘promise’ typically breaks down when banks rely solely on experienced and entrepreneurial bankers to navigate the divide, without introducing structural solutions.

And considering the profile of its clients — UHNWs, corporates, and asset owners — Morgan Stanley’s ability to harness the full resources and scale of the bank to holistically cover and execute upon their needs is critical. As a result, the bank is stronger than ever in terms of facilitating IPO two-way referrals, FICM mandates, strategic financing, M&A opportunities, private placements, and bond issuances — all core activities.

The power of Morgan Stanley’s integrated approach is also evidenced by its widely vaunted research arm. Unlike some of its competitors which separate buy-side and sell-side research and content, Morgan Stanley produces a single body of institutional-grade research for its clients. Again, this is significant, in view of the sophistication of the individuals who it banks, and because of the importance of advising clients with a single voice and view. Morgan Stanley’s renowned conferences, including its annual Asia Pacific Summit in Singapore, stand as testament to this.

But crucially, the bank went a step further in 2019 by enhancing the piping between its research ideas and investment solutions. An important example of this is the recently launched thematic equity portfolio, which harnesses the bank’s flagship research on ‘Global Best Business Models’ to deliver a discretionary solution to its clients in Asia.

The Judges recognise this initiative, which demonstrates that Morgan Stanley is keenly aware of how it can differentiate on the basis of its global leadership in investment banking, sales and trading, and research and make the most of the strengths of the group to augment its open architecture platform for the benefit of its Asia Wealth Management clients. It is truly a global private bank which thinks and excels as an investment bank.

Ultimately, Morgan Stanley, and its one-banking proposition, is all the more stronger because of the steps the bank took in 2019. Morgan Stanley is Asian Private Banker’s Best Private Bank – Integrated Platform for 2019.

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