François Monnet, head of private banking, North Asia, Credit Suisse shares his views with Asian Private Banker in the ‘Final Word’, a ten-part series where the industry’s leaders share their thoughts and opinions on key issues around industry trends, business performance, investment solutions, regulations and compliance, and technology.
Industry trends | How important is it for your business to make substantial inroads in China to ensure sustainability and growth over the next decade?
China now has the second highest number of both HNW and UHNW individuals globally, with the former having increased by 80 times since 2000. Managing this wealth pool is definitely an enormous opportunity and going onshore is a necessity in the coming years as the market is opening up and the regulatory environment is evolving to be more conducive for international institutions.
We are getting closer to that point of inflection. The next phase for us is to capitalise on our existing footprint across our securities and asset management JVs, and be ready to enter the market when the time is right, with the right strategy and building on local knowledge.
Technology | What is your view on robo-advisors and is your firm developing robo-capabilities of its own? Have you observed any robo-advisory developments that could materially disrupt the industry?
Our clients in Asia are largely U/HNWIs with complex financial needs and, as such, often require integrated solutions that cover both corporate and personal wealth needs across generations. These demands cannot be serviced solely by an automated platform.
While digital evolution in the private banking space is important to the future of our business, RMs will continue to be the core of client relationships, which are built on trust and highly personalised solutions. What technology does, to use a fashionable term, is to ‘augment’ the service ability of each RM by providing scale, content, and convenience. CS Invest is an example of such a hybrid model, where algorithms send relevant investment ideas directly to clients, but the RM remains the core of the relationship.
By introducing more ‘robo’ and AI capabilities, our focus is not to replace our RMs, but to make them smarter, more efficient, and focus them on the things that matter most to clients. Thus far, our AI capabilities can provide RMs information about clients’ portfolio health, investment ideas, and other actionable insights.
Technology | What emerging technology applications do you expect to reach an inflexion point in their convergence with private banking and wealth management? What impact will they have on the operational models of private banks and wealth managers? Who will be the biggest industry disruptors?
The next phase of the private banking business lies in the use of innovative technology to improve the client experience and provide access to private banking services digitally.
In APAC, CS was the industry’s first mover in embracing digital innovation when it launched a global digital private banking platform for Singapore clients in March 2015. By creating a new multi-channel hybrid private banking service delivery model that combines digital technology with the bank’s RMs, we believe our digital platform places us at the forefront of providing digital wealth management services to our current clients and the next generation.
Today, our digital private banking platform has continued to gain client traction, with the number of users increasing by more than 15 times since the platform was launched.
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