2023 was certainly not an easy year for private banks in Asia Pacific, with the impact of high interest rates, an underperforming Chinese equities market, and clients sticking to deposits. A few private banks also made some structural changes following the collapse of Credit Suisse, with some going through leadership transitions.
Below, in no particular order, Asian Private Banker has identified five private banks in Asia Pacific which may surprise the market in 2024.
UBS Global Wealth Management
Following its merger with long-time rival Credit Suisse in March last year, UBS Global Wealth Management (UBS GWM) is now Asia’s largest wealth manager. For UBS GWM in 2024, their strategy will be how to fully utilise the platform of both banks.
The AUM of UBS GWM in 2023 in APAC is expected to shoot higher than the US$437 billion that it reported in 2022. Despite Credit Suisse seeing massive outflows of both talent and assets, with Credit Suisse’s combined AUM, UBS GWM APAC is likely to hit a range of US$550 to 600 AUM for 2023, according to APB estimates.
UBS GWM APAC in 3Q23 already attracted US$13 billion of net new money in Asia on the back of the integration with Credit Suisse. The market is awaiting the figure for inflows from the acquisition at the next earnings for 4Q23/FY23, to be announced on 6 February.
Asian Private Banker will release its 2023 Asia ex-Japan Private Banking AUM league table in mid-April.
Adding to the picture is the nature of the relationship between the two co-heads of wealth management, Asia Pacific, for UBS GWM, Amy Lo and Jin Yee Young. One potential question is what the chemistry will be like between the two. Lo is the head and chief executive of UBS, Hong Kong, who has been with UBS for almost three decades, while Young is a veteran of Credit Suisse.
Lo was named Private Banker of the Year at Asian Private Banker‘s Awards for Distinction 2023, with UBS GWM being crowned as Best Private Bank – APAC.
However, one thing to be mindful of – for the Swiss giant in 2024 – is its cost-to-income ratio, as people in the market continue to believe that the acquisition cost to UBS is very high.
HSBC Global Private Banking
HSBC Global Private Banking welcomed its new head for APAC, Lok Yim, whose formal appointment began 1 January following the announcement of long-term veteran Siew Meng Tan’s retirement in September last year. The question is now, where is HSBC GPB APAC heading under Yim’s leadership?
HSBC GPB currently has one of the strongest foundations in terms of platform and offerings and RM force among all its competitors in APAC. Combining its strong retail and affluent wealth management presence in APAC, HSBC’s wealth continuum play has seen the bank rank second after UBS GWM in the APB 2022 AUM league table, with US$305 billion in AUM and 526 RMs in the region.
The UK lender is also a strong believer in the onshore market. While its onshore presences in China, India, and Thailand may not be significant, the decision to go onshore has helped HSBC GPB to set a steady footprint in some of the ‘hard to crack’ markets and play its wealth corridors concept in the key booking centres of Hong Kong and Singapore nicely.
2024 will also be a year of execution for HSBC GPB, as the bank pivots towards a UHNW and mega family office strategy. The latest launch of the HNW platform Premium Elite and the recent appointment of Credit Suisse banker Edith Wong as head of UHNW, North Asia, reflects the UK bank’s commitment to becoming the best wealth manager in Asia and the go-to-bank for clients in all segments.
Standard Chartered Wealth Management
Is Standard Chartered Wealth Management the dark horse of 2024? The bank, over the past few years, has been putting resources into rebuilding its private banking position in APAC since UBS veteran Raymond Ang joined as global head of private and affluent banking in August 2021.
By having a similar proposition as rival HSBC, Standard Chartered has a smaller setup in private banking compared to HSBC. However, the growth strategy that Ang has put to the bank is clear: Southeast Asia first, and North Asia. The bank also hired Peter Tung as Greater China & North Asia head for the private bank two years ago to helm the business after private banking legend Vivian Chan moved to a global advisor role.
In 2022, Standard Chartered recorded 68% YoY growth in new private banking clients, with China making up about 35%, while the remaining 65% are from Southeast Asia. Its AUM in the region has also gone up by 15.6% to US$510 billion of AUM in 2022, APB Insights showed.
Ang’s commitment to growing the business has also helped the bank to win Best Private Bank – Southeast Asia, at Asian Private Banker’s Awards for Distinction 2023.
With more experienced bankers joining Standard Chartered Private Bank in 2023, including Foo Tian Ong, Paterson Lau, Jourdan Gozali in Singapore, and Sidney Wong in Hong Kong, and with the bank bolstering its offerings in intermediaries and family office, many are anticipating what magic Ang will bring to the market in 2024.
Bank of Singapore
The fact that Jason Moo has an ambitious plan for Bank of Singapore is no secret. He wants to increase the bank’s AUM to US$145 billion and the number of RMs to 500 by 2025 by focusing on growth in ASEAN and Greater China, and family offices and IAM/EAMs. He also wants to increase its offerings of alternatives and private market products. The bank’s AUM stood at US$120 billion in 2022, APB Insights showed.
Although most Singapore private banks run the concept of duo booking centres in Hong Kong and Singapore, Bank of Singapore is the only private bank that offers full investment and wealth solution offerings to clients that book their assets in Hong Kong, whereas for its rivals, for instance, DBS Private Bank, most of the client assets are wholly managed in Singapore.
Being backed by OCBC, Bank of Singapore has a strong presence in most ASEAN markets, with onshore operations in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, which are all seeing promising progress.
In Greater China, one of the largest moves of 2023 was when Rickie Chan, a Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs veteran, announced he will be joining the bank to run the Hong Kong and Greater China market. Chan is a well-known Hong Kong private banker who holds key relationships with both the city and Chinese entrepreneurs. Chan’s connections, plus his team at Credit Suisse who are set to join with him, will further bolster Bank of Singapore’s still-developing Greater China presence and help reach Moo’s target for AUM and RM growth.
Both Moo and Chan have also spent some time together during their Goldman stint. It will be interesting to see what US and Swiss-bank flavours the duo can bring to this Singapore home-grown private bank in 2024.
J.P. Morgan Private Bank
As one of the largest US private banks, J.P. Morgan never disappoints its investors and clients with steady/or record revenue on its asset and wealth business. As J.P. Morgan Private Bank unfolds its latest leadership reshuffle in APAC, will the bank bring surprises to the market in 2024?
The US bank is known to favour promoting internally, which can be seen in the new leadership team, which includes Harshika Patel, Hong Kong CEO for J.P. Morgan taking on the new role as CEO for the private bank, APAC; Ernest Ho, a long-time J.P. Morgan Private Bank veteran taking up the new role as head of Hong Kong and the Philippines (HKP); and Paul Thompson, the former head of HKP being named as head of Singapore and Southeast Asia.
J.P. Morgan Private Bank APAC’s whole team Is now built on people who know the business the most and the best. The bank has also beefed up its RM force in 2023 with strong banker hires amid market headwinds.
Its business model is also versatile compared to some other US banks that only cover the UHNW segment. The bank covers HNW to UHNW to mega family offices, and provides a holistic offering from investment to wealth planning, with specialists spending a long time with the bank.
Not to mention J.P. Morgan is bar-none the strongest banking brand in the world, with a strong onshore asset management presence in China – a difficult market for US banks to set a footprint, and has one of the largest institutional services around the world.