Awards for Distinction 2020 – Best Private Bank – North Asia UHNW

Best Private Bank North Asia UHNW


Morgan Stanley
Private Wealth Management Asia

Best Private Bank – North Asia UHNW

Vincent Chui

head of Wealth Management, Asia Pacific, Morgan Stanley

“We are very proud and humbled to again be the recipient of the award of Best Asia Private Bank – North Asia UHNW. Greater China is our target client geographical region and UHNW entrepreneurs are our target client segment. To be able to win the industry’s recognition in the overlapping segments empowers us to continue offering our integrated platform to UHNW, corporate and asset-owner clients in Asia, and to help them navigate the post-pandemic global and local economic and market environment.

We are strong believers in the secular growth opportunities in Asia — China in particular — and will continue to invest in talent, research and infrastructure to help clients capture such opportunities there. Most of our entrepreneur clients are in their business growth and wealth accumulation phase. Together with Investment Banking, Capital Markets and Sales and Trading, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management Asia aspires to be their partners for their personal, family and corporate financing businesses.”

Winners rationale

2020 turned out to be another year of strong growth in Asia’s private banking industry propelled by China-sourced client and market opportunities.

No bank in Asia is more associated with the opportunities and capital markets success in China than Morgan Stanley. After all, the firm is fondly referred to as 大摩 “Dai Mor” (Big Morgan) by Chinese investors.

Morgan Stanley’s Private Wealth Management Asia took full advantage of the firm’s franchise, competencies and success in China to offer differentiated ideas, solutions and products to its offshore UHNW clients in North Asia — China in particular — and we are pleased to recognise the bank as the Best Private Bank – North Asia UHNW, for the second year running.

Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management Asia is a rare example of a major private bank in Asia that understands where its competitive strengths lie and how to make the most of those strengths for a client roster dominated by the region’s largest and most sophisticated investors. Quite simply, it is a bank that occupies its own niche in Asia and is all the more successful for it — a fact especially evident during a year dominated by COVID-19-related turmoil that tested the industry across all aspects of the business.

Indeed, agile and decisive decision making by the bank’s Asia management at the outset of the pandemic meant that Morgan Stanley was well-prepared operationally to navigate the disruption. It was among the first on the block to implement flexible work-from-home arrangements for all staff with access to full infrastructure capabilities and, critically, made available to private clients corporate access products that take advantage of the firm’s cross-divisional capabilities — including Institutional Equity Division and Research — to keep clients up to speed on market dynamics, global events and themes, and sectoral developments, from EV batteries to Asia fintech.

That operational surefootedness set the scene for a performance that highlighted Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management Asia’s defining strength: its ability to seamlessly deliver to its clients the entire arsenal of the bank across institutional content, services, access, and investments. This is a hallmark of the private bank in Asia and a source of significant value add to clients, whose complex needs typically extend to their corporate activities.

Thus, in a year beset by pandemic-driven challenges and a host of events that left their mark on markets (including a US election, geopolitical tensions, and Brexit), Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management Asia clients were the recipients of a deep and constant stream of cutting-edge institutional research, analysis, and access directly relevant to these happenings and themes. They were also presented with a formidable flow of strategic and tactical ideas and solutions designed to capture opportunities and mitigate risk arising from these challenges.

This is true across all facets of the Morgan Stanley offering: from its vaunted Market Strategies and Investments unit to Investment Management Services — an increasingly important lynchpin of the PWM business in Asia, on account of the high quality of manager selection, differentiated discretionary portfolios, and sophisticated wealth and trust planning services. Morgan Stanley’s investment banking prowess in 2020 was also on full display in Hong Kong, not only underscoring the division’s dominance in its own right but equally its cruciality as a source of referral business to PWM and vice versa — coordinated by the bank’s Strategic Advisory Solutions team which is the pivot point for firm-wide collaboration.

The common denominator across the business is the quality of individuals Morgan Stanley employs, and every year without fail since the bank has participated in Asian Private Banker’s awards programme, it has demonstrated a commitment to upgrading and upskilling the team, whether by bringing in traders with block trade expertise, building out the IC function and product specialist teams, or enhancing the frontline. The additions are never about meeting targets but rather selective and opportunistic in nature — and that focus on quality shines through in the sheer calibre of the business’s performance.

In 2020, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management Asia in North Asia recorded high double-digit growth in client assets, revenues and profitability, headlined by those attributable to mega and family office clients; a strong increase in new accounts — including via client referral; double-digit revenues growth, with among the industry’s lowest cost base; and, significantly, a record of flagship transactions that stand testament to the bank’s quality as an UHNW-focused private bank in Asia.

Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management Asia is Asian Private Banker’s Best Private Bank — North Asia UHNW for 2020.

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