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Wealth assets at Asia private banks surge 29% to top US$2 trillion

Growth driven by strong flows from China and buoyant financial markets: report

Singapore

ASSETS under management at private banks in Asia surged 29 per cent last year to top US$2 trillion for the first time, driven by strong flows from China and buoyant financial markets, according to Asian Private Banker.

"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.

It was the fastest annual growth in wealth assets in the region since Asian Private Banker started collecting data in 2012.

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UBS Group topped the ranking of the biggest 20 firms by managed assets, followed by Citigroup and Credit Suisse Group, according to the survey released on Thursday.

The top six spots were unchanged from a year earlier, according to the data, which exclude mainland China.

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 took to hiring instead.

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

UBS' headcount rose 2 per cent and its AUM jumped 34 per cent to US$382.7 billion; Morgan Stanley's staff numbers jumped about a fifth to 298 and assets climbed 44 per cent to US$102 billion. BLOOMBERG