Merrill Lynch has been voted the Outstanding Global Private Bank for 2007 by the readership of Private Banker International, a testament to the US wealth giant’s push worldwide to build up its global private clients business
Last year, the winner of this award was UBS.
The awards were presented by PBI in Singapore, during the 17th Wealth Summit. These annual tributes for outstanding performance in the wealth industry are subject to final assessment by an independent judging panel. Merrill was singled for embarking “on a broad and purposeful strategy to be a major player in all the key wealth markets”.
Increasingly, rival bankers say that Merrill Global Private Client is among the key competitors they have to beat in their particular market, according to the tribute. It has $1.6 trillion in assets under management – ranking with UBS as the world’s biggest private client manager.
Finalists in this global category were Credit Suisse and HSBC.
The other PBI awards are:
The Outstanding Regional Private Bank – Asia-Pacific
Winner: ICICI Bank, India
Finalists: CIMB Investment Bank Berhad, Malaysia; OCBC Private Bank, Singapore
ICICI Bank is one of the few banks in Asia that is taking to the fight to the Western home markets of the big guns of global wealth management. It has a growing international network in Europe, North America and the Middle East, a great machine for attracting non-resident Indian money, and of course strength in-depth when it comes to creating a domestic wealth franchise.
The Outstanding Regional Bank – Europe
Winner: Barclays Wealth
Finalists: Credit Suisse; UniCredit
Barclays Wealth in the past year has become an outstanding competitor in private banking, and indeed is setting the agenda on many important issues. Its analysis on key areas such as women’s specific financial needs and complex inheritance issues, which have been widely publicised, are showing the way when it comes to modern ‘mass market’ marketing for the wealth manager. Global private banking needs a global image, an issue that relatively few in the industry have yet addressed. Barclays is setting the best practice benchmark in this regard.
Barclays, of course, is the UK’s largest wealth manager and has a growing client base in the EU, particularly in southern Europe. It ranks as Europe’s eighth-largest wealth manager, with more than $185 billion under management.
The Outstanding Regional Private Bank – The Americas
Winner: Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management
Finalists: Northern Trust; Wachovia
James Gorman, president of Morgan Stanley’s wealth division, is winning plaudits for the rejuvenation job he has carried out since joining from Merrill Lynch. One example: over the five quarters prior to his arrival from Merrill, revenue growth at Morgan Stanley averaged between 4 percent and 6 percent. Over the three remaining quarters of 2006 it grew at a rate of between 8 percent and 12 percent. Longer term, James Gorman hopes to grow revenues by more than 10 percent, in a resurgence of the firm as a US, and global, wealth player.
The Outstanding Wealth Management Bank – Middle East
Winner: Qatar National Bank
Finalists: National Bank of Abu Dhabi; National Bank of Dubai
Qatar National Bank has firmly nailed its colours to the private banking mast. In 2004, it acquired UK wealth manager Ansbacher, giving it important presence outside the Gulf. Ansbacher is manager of the QNB Al Watani funds family, which has won plaudits for a global best practice approach to wealth management and private banking. QNB has emerged as one the local players that are increasingly intermediating in the important investment flows generated in the region as oil prices rise and as local economic development gains pace.
The Outstanding Private Bank – Customer Relationship Skills
Finalists: Bank Sarasin; Coutts
Few private banks can offer such high standards of client servicing right around the world, backed by a consistency of approach across the spectrum – from high net worth to the very wealthiest ultra-high net worth. UBS is surely the benchmark to beat for this consistency. In the words of our judging panel, its clients have “really bought into” the UBS slogan ‘You and Us’. UBS declares that, in its view, providing advice is a continual process of adapting clients’ investment strategies precisely to their needs at every stage of their lives.
The Outstanding Private Bank for Innovation of Products/Services
Winner: BNP Paribas
Finalists: Barclays ; Credit Suisse
BNP Paribas was last year’s winner of this award, and again is regarded as an extraordinary powerful force. Financial engineering is its very special talent, creating best-in-class financial solutions for clients. This allows BNP Paribas Private Bank freely to deviate from theoretical benchmarks, thereby offering clients dynamic management of their assets. Its Equities and Derivatives division employs literally hundreds of mathematicians. Indeed, the core BNP Paribas strategy is based on internationalisation and innovation. In its own words, this bank wants to remain a benchmark player in terms of technological and financial innovation.
The Outstanding Private Bank for Alternative Investments
Winner: SG Private Banking
Finalists: BNP Paribas; JPMorgan
SG Private Banking one of that select group of senior players present in all classes: hedge funds, structured products, private equity, real estate, mezzanine. The group has put the use of alternative investments, to optimise the risk adjusted return of a portfolio, at the very heart of its global wealth structuring and portfolio management strategy.
The Outstanding Business Private Bank
This award is made for the financial institution that ties private banking in seamlessly with its other operations, including corporate and SME business, in order to create seamless services for businesses and entrepreneurs. The winner in 2006 was Fortis.
Winner: HSBC Private Bank
Finalists: Credit Suisse; Investec
HSBC has been outstanding in ensuring that wealth management ‘talks’ to its corresponding divisions, including investment banking and corporate finance, in order to meet the complex needs of individuals with inter-related personal and business interests. Asset-liability management skills are indeed marking out those private banks which are the very forefront of the products and services needed by today’s sophisticated client.
The Outstanding Global Private Banking Leader
Winner: Hans de Gier, Chief Executive Officer, Julius Baer
Finalists: François Debiesse, Director, BNP Paribas Private Bank; James P Gorman, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management Group
Under Hans de Gier, the ‘new’ Baer is one of the assured success stories in private banking of recent years. After the dot.com bust and pressures on traditional Swiss private banking, it was forced completely to rethink its model and really went back to fundamentals, even to the extent of easing the traditional control exercised by the Baer family.
The renaissance started in the first half of 2006, when Baer started to see net new inflows of funds for the first time in a number of years. Then, its remarkable transaction with UBS, buying three private banks and GAM last year, has proved a transforming deal. By some measures, Baer now manages more wealthy individuals’ money than Deutsche Bank. Baer has been rapidly using this strength and its brand to expand its offshore wealth management business into new growth markets that offer the prospect of strong inflows of net new money.
Outstanding Asia-Pacific Private Banker
Winner: Barend Janssens, ABN AMRO Asia Head of Private Banking
Finalists: Hanspeter Brunner, Chief Executive Officer, Coutts International and Executive Chairman, Asia; Balakrishnan Kunnambath, Managing Director & Global Market Manager – Indian Subcontinent, SG Private Banking (Asia-Pacific)
Milestones achieved as a direct result of Barend Janssens’s energetic approach at ABN AMRO over the past two years include strong leadership of an award-winning bank division, an 80 percent increase in assets under management, a 24 percent increase in staff numbers, pushing into China and South-East Asian markets and expanding the Asian branch network.
Outstanding Young Private Banker – Asia-Pacific
Winner: Keiichi Hirano, Managing Director & Global Market Manager – Global Japan, SG Private Banking (Asia-Pacific)
Keiichi Hirano has achieved a remarkable track record in building SG Private Banking (Asia-Pacific)’s presence in wealth management for offshore Japanese. His global exposure and fluency in both Japanese and English have made him the natural choice to head the Global Japan Division in SG Private Banking (Asia-Pacific), taking care of offshore Japanese high net-worth individuals.
After heading private banking marketing in SG Private Banking Tokyo, Keiichi set up the Global Japan division in 2005 in Singapore, the regional hub of SG Private Banking (Asia-Pacific), to give high net worth Japanese individuals outside Japan the opportunity to invest or diversify their portfolio in Asia. The division has been so successful since its set-up that it now has more than 15 staff based in Singapore, Hong Kong, Geneva, Switzerland and soon in London.
Outstanding Young Private Banker – Gulf
Winner: Tarek Khlat, Managing Director, Credit Suisse UK Ltd, covering the Middle East out of London
Tarek Khlat is one of those select few private bankers who get access to the inner sanctums across the Gulf. His client list is a veritable who’s who of prominent Gulf high net worth. His colleagues describe him as a superstar when it comes to Gulf coverage at a time when the region is generating billions in personal wealth as economic development gathers pace, helping by high energy prices.
Outstanding Young Private Banker – Europe
Winner: Arnaud Leclercq, Executive Vice President, Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch and Head of Emerging Eastern Countries
Arnaud Leclercq has developed and implemented a strategic approach to these emerging CEE countries, bringing skills and competencies which have been extended to the Asian, Middle East and LATAM teams. In just over a year he has built the business from scratch, hired an effective team and achieved exceptional results, including CHF850 million ($762 million) of assets under management. Arnaud has established a Lombard Odier footprint in Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Poland and Kazakhstan.
The PBI Editor’s Special Award
This award recognises special excellence that is not necessarily covered in the main categories but which, in the opinion of PBI, recognises a bank has been performing at outstandingly high levels.
Winner: EFG International
EFG is recognised for creating one of the most effective business models around. Scooping up top-level teams of bankers and their clients, organic growth and targeted acquisitions have made EFG such an impressive ‘new money’ machine in the past couple of years. It is now the best-in-class in terms of gross margin on assets under management, at around 120 basis points. EFG, more than most in our wealth industry, is today punching well above its weight.