Private banks and wealth managers who were able to remain level headed advising clients as they face turbulent markets with the outbreak of Covid-19 have outperformed their peers, burnishing their reputation as trusted advisers.
With the worst part of the pandemic hitting the financial markets in February-March 2020 – still within the awards period for The Asset Triple A Private Capital Awards 2020, which covers April 2019 to March 2020 – private banks and wealth managers that were able to best serve their clients’ needs have spent the previous years preparing for such an eventuality, even without realizing then that it would come at such an unprecedented scale.
The lockdowns and quarantines resulting from the pandemic justified the massive pre-pandemic investments in online banking and other technologies, particularly online communication and trading platforms, as clients forced to stay at home moved to utilize them exclusively. Private banks and wealth managers who have been slow to make these investments were left behind by their more technology-savvy peers.
On the investment side, private bankers and wealth managers who took the time to reassure their clients when there was much uncertainty in the markets ended up reaping the benefits when the markets rebounded.
To be fair, the awards period began with much optimism as stockmarkets boomed in 2019 with major indices hitting record highs despite the uncertainties and market volatility arising from geopolitical issues.
By the end of 2019, however, things were looking more uncertain as the protracted disputes between China and the United States, as well as a slackening in domestic investments slowed global economic growth. Data from the United Nations annual report showed that global GDP expanded by a mere 2.3% in 2019, the lowest annual growth in the past 10 years. Then in March 2020, Covid-19 struck, resulting in 40,000 deaths for that month alone, according to data from the World Health Organization.
“When GDP slows down, wealth creation would also be held back, and when you look across the US, Asia, China, and Hong Kong, GDP has actually slowed down,” says a senior private banker.
Although the markets have rebounded since, the future still holds a lot of uncertainty for wealth creation. There is much uncertainty in the US – incumbent President Donald Trump and his followers continue to contest the election results – as well as other factors arising from this protracted outcome.
On the positive side, institutional investors and financial markets appear to be showing signs of moving forward despite these uncertainties, a development that augurs well for wealth creation, especially in the Asia-Pacific.
It is in this context that we are announcing winners of The Asset Triple A Private Capital Awards 2020:
Best Private Bank, Asia - Citi Private Bank
With its continued success in client acquisition during the awards period, Citi Private Bank remains dominant across the entire wealth continuum, ranging from emerging affluent, affluent, high net worth (HNW) to ultra high net worth (UHNW) and mega wealth. Successful cases are presented to demonstrate its outstanding service offering across the wealth spectrum.
Best Private Bank, UHNWIs – J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Well connected with over 50% of the world’s deca-billionaires (individuals who have in excess of US$10 billion in wealth), J.P. Morgan Private Bank remains a dominant player in the UHNW space in Asia. In particular, J.P. Morgan has built a successful digital engagement with its clients during the review period.
Best Nexgen Private Bank – Citi Private Bank
Citi Private Bank continues to show its commitment to service the NextGen clients amid a highly volatile market and a raging pandemic. The private bank's NextGen programme started in 2002 servicing the scions of UHNW clients with a net worth exceeding US$25 million. On top of fundamental services such as providing financial advice, during the awards period, Citi Private Bank has launched conferences, summits and leadership programmes in New York, Boston, and Cambridge, attracting NextGen clients in their 20s, 30s and 40s. These events are designed to enhance these clients’ knowledge, expand their network and hone their leadership skills.
Best Boutique Private Bank - Julius Baer
Enjoying a strong capital base, a low-risk profile with no commercial lending, and a deposit-driven balance sheet, Julius Baer remains a trusted specialist private bank in the market. Its Asian equity portfolio and flagship fixed income dynamic portfolios recorded positive inflows during the review period. Julius Baer has also established local partnerships in Asia to boost its footprint.
Best Private Bank, HNWIs and Best Wealth Manager, Asia – DBS Private Bank
DBS Private Bank continues to innovate to provide up-to-date products to the market. Its barbell investment strategy, advocated by its CIO and launched in August 2019, attracted significant subscriptions from clients. On the sustainability front, DBS has launched an ESG structured product, which seeks to deliver the alpha of the MSCI Asia ESG index against the parent MSCI EM Asia Index.
Private Banker of the Year - Didier von Daeniken
Didier von Daeniken, global head of private banking and wealth management at Standard Chartered Private Bank, is recognized for successfully building up the bank’s private banking business from scratch. Von Daeniken, who joined the bank in March 2016, and his team, were able to overcome widespread skepticism that Standard Chartered, which isn’t best known for private banking, can establish a competitive business and gain the confidence of Asia’s ultra-high net worth clients. Today, the bank is starting to become a strong player and is building a global private banking network after establishing itself in this region.
For the full list of the best private banks and wealth managers, please click here.
For more information on The Asset Triple A Awards, please click here.