Wealth in Asia is rapidly growing and so are the private banks needed to manage it. About time, then, to ask what are the largest private banks in Asia, says Patrick Brusnahan
Over the past four years, Private Banker International has joined forces with GlobalData (both part of the same parent company) to produce an annual ranking of global private banks by their assets under management (AuM) and find the largest private banks in Asia.
Largest private banks in Asia: Ranking the top six
We have already revealed the largest private banks in Switzerland and the largest private banks in the US based on this data. This week we take a look at the largest private banks in Asia ranked by their AuM:
1. China Merchants Bank: $549 billion
The largest private bank in Asia is the private banking arm of China Merchants Bank, which has $549bn of assets under management, an 11.8% increase on the $491bn the year before.
While impressive, the $549bn figure falls far behind the world’s largest private bank, UBS, which manages $2,815bn in 2022. Compared globally, CMB does not even make it into the top 10, ranking 11th in GlobalData’s 2022 ranking of global private banks and wealth managers.
2. ICBC: $381 billion
Despite being the largest bank in the world by assets, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is in second place in Asia when it comes to private banking.
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ICBC was number three in Asia last time PBI published rankings (2019) but it has moved back up to second after strong growth, going from $336bn AuM in 2021 to $381bn in 2022.
Perhaps ICBC complacent in its position. It was the last of the four state banks to launch a wealth management subsidiary, having been granted a green light in February 2019.
3. Bank of China: $350 billion
In December 2018, Bank of China (BoC) became the first of the ‘big four’ state-owned banks to create a wealth management offering after rules around ownership of state banks’ wealth and asset management operations were relaxed.
The other state banks – ICBC, China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China – quickly followed BoC’s example. However, despite being first to embrace private banking in China, it has slipped to second place, growing to $350bn AuM in 2022 from $313bn in 2021.
4. DBS: $222 billion
The largest non-Chinese private bank in Asia, DBS comes in fourth on GlobalData’s ranking, though it shows signs of growing. Its AuM has grown by 2.3% in the past year going from $217bn to $222bn.
This momentum continued in the first quarter of this year, which saw DBS recording impressive growth in the first half of 2023 due to remarkable expansions of its wealth income. This trend was fuelled by new money and wealth inflows originating from Asia-Pacific.
In the first half of 2023, DBS saw a notable surge in its wealth management assets under management (AuM) to SGD320bn ($241bn), representing a 9% increase from last year that was driven by new money inflows of SGD12bn ($9bn) within the respective sector.
5. OCBC (Bank of Singapore): $120 billion
Bank of Singapore, the private banking arm of OCBC, ranks as the fifth largest Asian private bank, and the second largest in Singapore. However, it is not letting geography limit its ambitions.
In the recent history, Bank of Singapore has rolled out a new European wealth management offering, having obtained a licence to operate in Luxembourg last year.
It has stayed smart in 2023 with it security as in the first month since its launch on 5 August 2023, OCBC’s anti-malware security feature has prevented scammers from making away with more than $2m in savings, from more than 30 customers’ OCBC bank accounts. The security feature was first rolled out in version 18.1 of the OCBC Digital app for Android. Since then, no losses from malware scams have been reported by OCBC customers using this version of the app and above.
6. UOB: $115 billion
UOB is hot on the heels of its Singaporean and Chinese rivals. It has gone from $104bn to $115bn in the last year, staying above other rivals in the region such as Standard Chartered.