Global Finance’s inaugural Best Private Banks Awards highlight those firms that aim to serve their clients better through the innovative use of technology, new products and service models.

Author: Andrew Osterland



Best In The World | J.P. Morgan Private Banking

Like most major financial institutions operating in the United States, JPMorgan Chase faced the fallout from the financial crisis. Dozens of regulatory investigations resulted in huge legal settlements. The bank and its CEO, Jamie Dimon, however, kept private banking and service to high-net-worth individuals at the core of its business and brand. With global reach and enormous resources in investment banking, asset management and the full range of wealth management services, the bank offers premier private banking services across the globe.

Boutique Ban | C. Hoare & Co

The United Kingdom’s oldest bank remains wholly owned by the Hoare family and has the kind of small-business, white-glove service that continues to attract wealthy clients. An admittedly conservative institution, Hoare is small enough to provide a personalized service for clients but big enough to invest in the technology and talent needed to cover every base.

Most Innovative Private Bank | DBS Private Bank

Singapore-based DBS Bank is a local standout in the region. DBS’s commitment to building out its private banking platform and using customer analytics and Big Data applications to improve its offerings to a range of customer segments has helped it compete with European and American banks. Last year it gave its relationship managers access to IBM’s Watson cognitive computing technology to improve customer service.

Socially Responsible Investing | Northern Trust

Whether a client wants to avoid investing in companies involved in specific industries or activities or to reward companies with good records on the environment, diversity or corporate governance, Northern Trust has plenty of ways to get there. It uses positive and negative screens to filter out or in specific companies and employs best-of-sector stock selection strategies. It undertakes shareholder advocacy efforts to help clients achieve socially responsible investing goals. The goals can be highly specific or can cover a range of different factors, and portfolio management is either active or passive.

New Customer Segments | Bank of America Global Wealth And Investment Management

Investor surveys consistently show that the financial crisis and recurring scandals that have rocked Wall Street have made younger investors deeply cynical about financial markets. Bank of America is making efforts to target this customer segment, which is rapidly accumulating wealth. A major step is the bank’s recharging of its recruiting and training program for young advisers to help serve younger customers.

Emerging Markets | UBS Wealth Management

UBS, the largest global private bank, surpassing $2 trillion in assets under management last year, has focused efforts on developing markets across all regions of the world. With smaller but still robust investment banking and asset management operations, UBS offers a full range of services for wealthy, often business-owning clients in emerging markets and remains a premier brand in global private banking.

Up-and-Coming Private Bank | Bank of Singapore

A product of the merger of ING’s Asian private banking operations with that of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Bank of Singapore has quickly become a major player in private banking in Asia and elsewhere. Managed independently, the bank has access to a wide range of banking and lending services through OCBC. With offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila and Dubai, Bank of Singapore has more than $50 billion in assets under management.

Islamic Private Bank | HSBC Amanah

Like other large financial institutions building out shariah-compliant private banking platforms, HSBC has faced challenges forging a profitable business in Islamic banking. HSBC Amanah restructured operations in 2012, closing offices in a number of markets. However, it continues to offer high-net-worth clients shariah-compliant products and services out of offices in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.  HSBC is the largest issuer of sukuk—Islamic bonds—in the world.

Individuals Under 35 | Bank of America Global Wealth And Investment Management

Individuals under 35 years still want access to a relationship manager when needed, but increasingly they want their communications with advisers conducted digitally. Bank of America offers as broad a range of banking, lending and wealth management services as any institution in the world, and delivers it via a comprehensive digital platform.

Net Worth Under $1 million | Merrill Lynch

The minimum asset threshold for most private banks is $1 million, but increasingly many banks have offerings for different customer segments and sizes. The client account minimum required to work with a Merrill Lynch financial adviser is $250,000. Merrill’s investment advice paired with universal banking from Bank of America makes for a compelling offer to the so-called mass affluent.

Net Worth Between $1 million and $24.9 million | U.S. Trust

U.S. Trust is one of the oldest and largest wealth managers focused on serving high-net-worth and ultrahigh-net-worth clients in the United States. Founded in 1853 as the first trust company, it was purchased by Charles Schwab in 2000, then sold to Bank of America in 2006. Although it had significantly lower account minimums in the late 1980s, U.S. Trust has refocused on higher-net-worth clients. With the resources of Bank of America to draw on, it provides a comprehensive package of wealth management, full banking and lending services.

Net Worth Of $25 Million Or More | Citi Private Bank

Commercial and investment banking, wealth management, tax and estate planning, philanthropy, lifestyle planning, concierge services: ultrahigh-net-worth clients expect it all to be accessible through their relationship manager. They also expect unique access to investment opportunities. Citi never lost sight of its strength as a global institution, with a presence across most geographies and asset classes, which is ideally suited to catering for very wealthy individuals with very complicated lives.

Intergenerational Wealth Management | Pictet

The more than 200-year-old partnership specializes in providing objective, conflict-free advice for family wealth planning, particularly in the context of family business owners. The third-largest Swiss private bank helps families craft organizational stuctures that protect wealth across generations but allow for changes in direction and the objectives of family members.

Discretionary Mandates | UBS Wealth Management

UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, has found its feet after a string of scandals during the financial crisis. The bank has significantly cut the size of its investment banking and trading operations, but with still-vast research and asset management resources, UBS has successfully driven its fee-based discretionary mandates business to new heights. The bank’s discretionary business has attracted huge inflows of assets after experiencing negative flows following the financial crisis.


North America | BNY Mellon Wealth Management

The asset administration infrastructure of BNY Mellon has helped drive efficiencies in the wealth management side of the business too. At the end of June, BNY Mellon had $193 billion in assets under management in the United States, split equally between consumers and businesses and institutions. It also offers wealth management out of six offices in Canadian cities. The bank had an impressive 8.8% growth in new client assets in 2014.

Latin America | Itaú Private Bank

With more than 25% of the private banking market in Brazil, Itaú Private Bank continues to grow in other countries in the region—most notably, Chile. Parent Itaú Unibanco struck a deal with CorpBanca last year that will significantly bolster its presence in both Chile and Colombia. The deal, potentially the largest in Latin America since 2008, was recently approved by Chilean regulators. Itaú provided comprehensive wealth management services to 7,800 high-net-worth families at the end of last year. 

Middle East | Ahli United Bank

Ahli United Bank has become one of the most dynamic private banks in the Middle East. The dismal economies in the Gulf Cooperation Council region owing to the plunge in the price of oil, caused assets under management at AUB to dip by 3.5% to $32.7 billion. However, the bank managed to maintain profitability. Net income was up 6% to $278 million in the first half of 2015.

Nordic Region | Nordea Private Banking

Assets under management at the bank were down 4%, to €273 billion ($292 billion), in the third quarter this year, but up 7% on the same quarter last year. The private banking division accounted for about €88 billion of that amount. Nordea is the market leader in all four Scandinavian countries and has major operations in the Baltics and Russia.

Central & Eastern Europe | UniCredit Private Banking

From its core markets of Italy and Germany, UniCredit’s Central and Eastern European private banking division relies on the parent group’s broad range of commercial and investment banking resources, onshore and offshore banking. Services are delivered through local bank brands in some countries—Bank Pekao in Poland, for instance. UniCredit’s Private Bank manages roughly €150 billion in assets.

The Caribbean | CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank

CIBC FirstCaribbean’s private banking platform offers comprehensive services to onshore and offshore clients. The crackdown on tax evasion by the US Department of Justice has been a blow to the Caribbean offshore banking industry. But with headquarters in the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas and a presence in 17 markets, CIBC FirstCaribbean remains a prominent player in the industry.

Africa | Investec

Through acquisitions and organic growth, Investec has become the biggest private bank in South Africa, administering roughly $21 billion in client assets. With other offices in the Channel Islands and Europe, as well as Asia and the US, Investec offers its more than 28,000 clients in South Africa a global investment platform and full wealth management services.

Onshore Private Bank In Asia-Pacific | DBS Private Bank

DBS has benefited from the growth of Singapore as an offshore banking center. With growing networks in mainland China, India, and Southeast Asia, DBS is emerging as the preeminent Asian-based private bank. After the acquisition of Societe Generale’s Asian private banking operations last year, DBS is now the eighth-largest private bank in the region.

Offshore Private Bank In Asia-Pacific | Citi Private Bank

Citibank’s offshore capabilities out of Hong Kong and Singapore attract high-net-worth investors from across the region and outside Asia. With enormous resources in commercial and investment banking and high-end wealth management services, Citibank’s Asian offshore operations cater to the needs of the superwealthy.

Onshore Private Bank In Western Europe | Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management

Deutsche Bank offers private banking services across Western Europe. New co-CEO John Cryan is undertaking a major restructuring of the bank’s business divisions, carving out an independent business to handle high-net-worth clients. The private bank will still have access to the extensive resources of the investment bank and asset management divisions. The Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management division manages more than $1 trillion in assets. 

Offshore Private Bank In Western Europe | Banque de Luxembourg

The crackdown on tax evasion and money laundering by European and American regulators has hurt the Grand Duchy’s offshore private banking business, but demand for the comprehensive wealth management relationships that Banque de Luxembourg specializes in remains strong. A major investment fund manager, the bank offers customized investment management solutions across all asset classes, as well as tax-planning and wealth- and estate-planning solutions.



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