All articles by William Cain

William Cain

The building of a breakaway brand

Asia-Pacific is set to become HSBC Private Bank’s most significant geography in the next 5 to 10 years, according to Chris Meares, its CEO. He also talked to William Cain about a new sponsorship deal with business TV channel CNBC as it continues to build on the powerful brand of its parent.

HSBC breaks into global top 5

HSBC Private Bank has broken into the top five of Private Banker Internationals global index, underlining its position as a major challenger to the established hierarchy. The private bank, headed by CEO Chris Meares, moved from sixth to fifth place in the half-yearly rankings ahead of Citi, which recently sold its Smith Barney business to Morgan Stanley. The brand strength of its parent has allowed HSBC Private Bank to hold firm during the financial crisis at a time when many wealth managers have been damaged by scandal and hurt by declining client confidence

Realising the value of the super rich

Businesses have been shifting up the wealth management pyramid in the past year, looking to gear their service to ultra high net worth clients William Cain looks at the challenges of courting the super wealthy.There has been an explosion of interest in ultra high net worth wealth management in the past year, but the segment looks unlikely to deliver the hoped-for profits.Rupert Phelps, director of family office services at Bank of New York Mellon, told PBI there was currently a creep up the asset pyramid that business strategists found appealing

Credit where it’s due for one-bank model

Credit Suisse has for a long time been a global wealth management powerhouse, but the engine of the business recently has been in the Asia-Pacific region William Cain reports.It is hard not to be impressed with the steady course charted by Credit Suisse in one of the most tumultuous periods in financial history.And if Brady Dougan, the banks CEO, had to choose one department to underline its achievements in the past 12 months, it would undoubtedly be its Asia-Pacific private banking division, headed by Marcel Kreis

Time for SFOs to freshen up

The value of running single family offices is being reconsidered by some wealthy families at a time when their wealth has been hit hard by declining investment markets William Cain reports.Closures of single family offices have been accelerating in recent months as wealthy families re-evaluate the costs and benefits of managing their own financial affairs.As investment losses mount families in that situation are considering whether to team up with other families, creating multi-family offices (MFOs), or transferring their wealth to private banks

A year for the boutiuqes

Smaller, more focused wealth managers operating in the $0.5 million to $20 million wealth bracket had better profitability in 2009 than their larger counterparts

Suitors jostle for US client business

Wealth managers, lawyers and accountants are assessing how they can win business from US clients who need to declare undisclosed assets by a 23 September deadline. It is predicted $30 billion in client assets could be moved around by US citizens, mainly in Switzerland, spooked by the USs legal pursuit of UBS and its offshore clients. The countrys Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has laid out a framework for citizens who have undisclosed assets to pay tax and take penalties without the need for prosecution

More senior hires for NAB

William Cain spoke to Angela Mentis, head of the NAB private bank, about the recent appointments and how the bank plans to move further upscale.National Australia Bank (NAB), the largest wealth management business in Australia, has strengthened its ultra high net worth business with the appointment of Will Hamilton.Hamilton, previously head of premium wealth services at Westpac Private Bank, is the latest in a string of appointments at the expanding NAB Private Wealth unit Philip Kimball joined at the start of the year to head up the banks investment strategy and research capability, while Richard Nunn, the former head of private banking at Commonwealth Bank, also joined NABs team in April.Hamilton has been appointed to head a new wealth services division which will provide customised wealth advice and tailored investment solutions to high and ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals.Will is highly regarded from his time at Westpac and will now be driving wealth services within NAB Private Wealth, said Angela Mentis, head of the banks Private Wealth unit

HNW women gain currency in Asia

William Cain reports.RBS Coutts is aiming to win new clients by targeting high net worth women in Asia, a group representing a $167 billion window of opportunity for private banks.According to a study carried out by RBS Coutts, women with investible assets of more than $1 million represent a large, untapped market, worth approximately $55 billion in Singapore and $112 billion in Hong Kong.Currently, private banks hold around 23 percent of total HNW female financial assets in Singapore and 26 percent in Hong Kong

Banks brace for tax amnesties

One of the logical extensions of the ongoing international campaign against offshore finance is the need for tax amnesties to bring undisclosed assets onshore