Awards for Distinction 2020 – Best Private Bank – Pure Play

Best Private Bank Pure Play


Union Bancaire Privée

Best Private Bank – Pure Play

Michael Blake

head of Region & CEO Asia, Union Bancaire Privée

“We are honoured to receive the Best Pure Play Asia award from Asian Private Banker for the second year in a row.

In 2020, we maintained a strong trajectory of profitable growth, reflecting the support of clients, the collective success of our existing team and the five teams of senior relationship managers who have joined the UBP family over the past five years. This momentum gives us confidence to accelerate our growth plans. We have continued to hire during COVID-19, with around 15% of relationship managers joining the Bank in 2020.

We see myriad opportunities in Asia and are building aggressively on this momentum in 2021 with more key hires. Asia is an essential growth market for UBP. Today, Asia contributes around 20% of UBP’s AUM and our ambition is to increase this to 30%. We look forward to working closely with clients and industry partners as we make progress towards this goal.”

Winners rationale

Union Bancaire Privée sets the benchmark for what pure private banking should be. This is a wealth manager that plays to its strengths and invests in aspects of its business where it knows it can add differentiated value to clients, all the while focusing on the traditional pillars of private banking: high touch, bespoke servicing combined with innovative solutions and an approach to portfolio management where risk management sits at the heart and centre.

It’s a compelling formula that reflects the entrepreneurial spirit and responsibility to the client that comes with being a family-owned bank. Such that UBP, in recent years, has achieved significant traction with UHNW and family office clients whose needs are sophisticated and long-term in nature. In fact, this upper tier of clients now accounts for the lion’s share of assets under management of UBP in Asia.

This success is in large part due to how the bank’s wealth management arm works hand-in-hand with UBP Asset Management to deliver institutional-level expertise and bespoke solutions, as evidenced by a growing list of significant mandates placed with UBP over the past 18 months, thereby driving robust NNM inflows. These include dedicated mandates focusing on Swiss equities, European large and mid-cap equities, and private debt — demonstrating UBP’s prowess across the board.

More broadly, UBP’s DPM service can rightfully be called a “crown jewel” of the bank, delivering strong absolute and relative performance versus the majority of its peers in 2020, due in no small part to the bank’s high-conviction, active, and risk-aware approach, where the emphasis is on long-term transformational themes and managing volatility. And clients recognise UBP’s strength as a portfolio manager. Assets under delegation currently account for a double-digit percentage of total Asia AUM — and continue to grow.

On the flow side, UBP has made significant enhancements to its platform and capabilities, especially in terms of structured products and FX, enabling the bank to compete toe-to-toe with regional peers and, in 2020, register dramatic (and sustained) increases in related volumes and revenues.

Further investments by the bank in its already impressive private markets business have also struck a chord with clients whose alternative allocations are increasing. Traditionally, the bank has focused on yield-enhancing direct investment opportunities such as real estate — and continues to do so effectively, as evidenced by a pipeline of unique deals in 2020. More recently, it has broadened its offering to include customised private market solutions for single clients, shorter-tenor private debt solutions and private equity opportunities with an Asian flavour.

Of course, the secret sauce behind UBP’s remarkable growth in Asia is its human capital. UBP focuses on quality over quantity and its track record in hiring and retaining talent validates its approach. The bank has done a phenomenal job at bringing in senior and seasoned bankers and investment specialists, whose contribution to the business over the past 24 months is evident in its financial results. Moreover, unlike other pure play private banks in this region, UBP’s business exhibits a healthy balance between its North and South Asia franchises, which themselves show a healthy mix of revenue streams, thereby providing the bank with a strong foundation for sustainable growth.

UBP is Asian Private Banker’s Best Private Bank – Pure Play for 2020.

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