Best Private Bank – Singapore
Union Bancaire Privée
Credit must go to UBP’s leadership — and the bank’s entire team in Asia, for that matter — for harbouring the ambition to develop the offering beyond what emerged from the Coutts International acquisition. And, indeed, some of the bank’s most important steps in this journey were taken in Singapore in 2019, when its banking licence was upgraded to ‘wholesale’, effectively unlocking the next stage for UBP’s growth in the city-state.
UBP, as a pure play private bank in the competitive Singapore market, has a very clear sense of its strengths and how it wants to deploy and develop those strengths. Thus, it has been able to carve out a unique position and visibility in the market, predicated on its high-touch service, a commitment to aligning client and bank interests, and to managing its clients’ wealth with a long-term and holistic approach.
This is evident in the emphasis UBP places on engaging its clients on a fee-based basis, similar in a sense to many smaller independent wealth management firms, but augmented by the group’s asset management capabilities and experience in delivering bespoke solutions. Thus, UBP now stands as a very compelling partner for more sophisticated HNW and UHNW clients who demand institutional-like services and solutions with a human touch.
For instance, UBP in 2019 grew client assets by some 14% due to strong net new money inflows, on account of the bank ramping up its bespoke client solutions offering, and — in another milestone for the bank in Asia — establishing a service for larger families and single-clients to help them set up single and multi-family offices. The service met with immediate success, leading to a net inflow of S$50 million from one client, and delivering a US$100 million insurance deal in collaboration with UBP’s teams in Hong Kong, London, and Geneva.
UBP broadened its investment platform in 2019, particularly on the FX side, where strong demand for bespoke FX structures last year translated in a dramatic uptick in associated revenues. And, it established a new corporate finance referral panel, in a further sign of the bank’s commitment to being a relevant and fully-fledged partner to the region’s more sophisticated and entrepreneurial clients in Singapore and the wider region.
Because UBP stands today as a compelling and differentiated proposition to HNW and UHNW individuals in Singapore and Asia, the bank has had good success in attracting experienced bankers and investment professionals — who typically look beyond remuneration to the quality of the platform and strategic intent. On all fronts, UBP delivers.
UBP is Asian Private Banker’s Best Private Bank – Singapore for 2019.