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UBS tops ranking as private banks in Asia expand assets 29%

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Private banks in Asia grew assets under management (AUM) by 29 per cent last year to more than US$2 trillion, driven by strong flows from China and market performance, according to Asian Private Banker.

[SINGAPORE] Private banks in Asia grew assets under management (AUM) by 29 per cent last year to more than US$2 trillion, driven by strong flows from China and market performance, according to Asian Private Banker.

UBS Group topped the ranking of the biggest 20 firms by managed assets, followed by Citigroup and Credit Suisse Group, the report showed Thursday. The top six spots were unchanged from a year earlier, according to the data, which exclude mainland China.

"Asia's private banks benefited from a sustained market rally and robust client activity to deliver strong AUM growth and, in many cases, post record revenues," said Sebastian Enberg, editor of the Hong Kong-based publication.

Companies are increasing their Asian wealth presence in pursuit of fees from millionaires who are getting richer quicker than those in North America and Europe, thanks to booming economies in the region. DBS Group Holdings and Bank of Singapore have built up through takeovers, while firms including Morgan Stanley and Julius Baer Group Ltd. took to hiring instead.

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UBS's headcount rose 2 per cent; its AUM jumped 34 per cent to US$382.7 billion. Morgan Stanley's staff numbers jumped about a fifth to 298; assets climbed 44 per cent toUS$102 billion. Julius Baer and China Merchants Bank Co saw AUM growth of around 40 per cent, without making acquisitions.

Takeovers helped smaller players expand. LGT Group, based in Liechtenstein, advanced 3 places to 12th after more than doubling its assets to US$63 billion. The bank completed its purchase of ABN Amro Group NV's private banking business in Asia and the Middle East last year.

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