This piece is the fourth instalment of The Final Word series, where top private banking and wealth management heads share their views on industry trends in 2017 and the year to come. Today, the theme is regulations and compliance.
In 2017, regulators in Hong Kong and Singapore focused on suitability and AML, respectively. How have you responded to intensified scrutiny on both fronts?
Pierre Vrielinck, CEO, Wealth Management APAC, BNP Paribas
“As a management principle, we are committed to working in the best interests of our clients, always. We have a compliant and systematic approach to make sure that the products and services we offer remain appropriate to the profiles of our clients, and fully comply with all the regulations in the respective jurisdictions.”
Michael Blake, CEO Private Banking, Asia, Union Bancaire Privée
“AML and suitability continue to be the two critical issues for the industry in Hong Kong and Singapore. My sense is that the industry has continued to make progress in both areas but – as always – there remains work to be done to improve systems, embed recent changes and reinforce culture.”
Wu Chunjiang, assistant general manager, private banking department, China Merchants Bank
“CMB Private Bank has always attached significant importance to regulatory compliance. To achieve regulatory compliance, we have taken various measures, including a comprehensive investigation of the entire process of selling products and implementation of certified sales mechanisms, becoming the first private bank in China to do this. CMB is also one of the first batches of domestic banks to carry out AML work. On the basis of adhering to the relevant laws and regulations in China, CMB will [implement its] AML monitoring or customer risk rating systems with set monitoring standards or rating parameters corresponding to the high risk countries or regions prompted by FATF.”
Didier von Daeniken, global head, private banking and Wealth Management, Standard Chartered
“One of our priorities for the private bank is to deliver on our conduct and financial crime risk programmes, and invest in enhancing our control environment.
We are investing significantly in digitising our platforms and processes, which will enhance how we handle suitability and AML matters. For example, we are continuously enhancing our client due diligence engine. At the same time, our multi-year wealth management platform upgrade will further automate suitability checks.
In parallel, we continuously review and enhance our standards and procedures, to ensure they meet regulatory expectations as well as the high standards of conduct we follow at the bank.”
Pierre Masclet, Asia CEO and Singapore Branch Manager, Indosuez Wealth Management
“Suitability and AML is not new to us at all as we have always had very strict rules around these matters, globally. As such that actually puts us in a very good position as we feel we are a leading institute with regards to these themes.
In fact, our in-house system S2i has automated a large number of the strongest suitability checks, to name just one example of how we deal with this.”
Ong Yeng Fang, managing director and head of private bank, UOB
“Singapore and Hong Kong are both key financial centres in Asia and it is important that we remain vigilant when it comes to client suitability and AML. For example, we have beefed up our first-line-of-defence and risk and compliance teams. We also ensure our relationship managers are trained regularly to anticipate AML issues and are well-equipped with up-to-date information, guidance and advice in this area.”
Amy Lo, chairman and head of Greater China, UBS Wealth Management and country head, UBS Hong Kong Branch
“We are always supportive of the government’s’ efforts to enhance the regulatory framework, maintain the competency of practitioners, and ensure an equal playing field for all.
Regulatory change has also led to a new capital regime for banks with more complexity and transparency. It has greatly impacted the cost of doing business and requires us to focus more on advisory services for clients. At the same time, we believe it is a huge opportunity for those who believe in the value of doing the right business the right way, and have invested accordingly over the recent years.”
Tan Su Shan, group head of consumer banking and wealth management, DBS Bank
“Rules surrounding tax reporting and AML have been tightened significantly and this may cause some short term pain for the industry in terms of increased costs of compliance and surveillance, but it is better for all industry players in the long term as standards are lifted across the board.”