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November 15, 2017

Bank of China launches private banking services in London

By Saloni Sardana

Bank of China has become the first Chinese bank to launch a private banking arm in London, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

This comes amid a growth in the number of Chinese wealthy individuals travelling and conducting business in the city.

The bank is targeting people who are in the UK to study, invest, buy property or shop, the China Daily said.

The private banking services will include legal, tax and investment advice. Bank of China will provide this in collaboration with investment management firms Quilter Cheviot and Standard Life Aberdeen.

However, it remains unclear how large deposits must be in order to qualify for the service. The way in which a bank defines a private banking client can vary, but it typically covers high net worth individuals having deposits of at least $250,000.

Estate agent Knight Frank recently said 20% of residential property transactions in the capital come from Chinese buyers.

China also saw the highest number of Tier 4 and equivalent visas issued in 2016. Data by the British Council indicated that China accounted for 40% all Tier 4 and equivalent visas granted to all countries.

Furthermore, a report by the Industrial Bank Co in China last year predicted an increase in the number of wealthy Chinese families to 3.8m by 2020. This compares to 2.07m wealthy families in 2015.

Chris Donegan, partner and chief risk officer at Chinese asset manager Hywin Wealth welcomed the move. “It is very exciting that BOC is opening their private banking businesses here in the UK,” and a “great vote of confidence and reflects the demand that is beginning to form among Chinese clients for a banking provider that understands them.”

Donegan said that Hywin could partner up with Bank of China to help its UK private banking client make appropriate investments.

Hywin’s comments could not be confirmed.

The bank has provided private banking services to China since 2007. It currently also serves private banking clients in Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.


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