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China Merchants Bank rises among global private banking elite

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In the course of a difficult year, China Merchants Bank’s private banking business has gone from strength to strength, extending its lead over domestic rivals and solidifying its position among the international top tier.

2020 was a challenging and unprecedented year for the world and the global economy.

Yet, amid such times, China Merchants Bank (CMB) stayed strong achieving what was a “harvest year” for the private banking business, as the growth rate of both the number of clients and assets under management hit a three-year high, helping to extend the bank’s lead over its domestic peers.

CMB was one of the pioneers of China’s private banking industry. It made its first foray into private banking in 2007, with the aim of serving its high net-worth individual (HNWI) clients and their families by protecting and growing their wealth through a strong, global network of private banking offices.

Now, CMB has more than 150 private banking centres in more than 70 cities around the world, covering both major Chinese cities and international financial centres, including Hong Kong, New York, London, Luxembourg, Singapore and Sydney.

This fast-growing network has enabled CMB to follow the international footprints of its clients and advise them on their investment portfolios with a global perspective. In turn, this has facilitated the bank’s comprehensive service offerings to its clients at home and abroad.

According to latest data from CMB and management consultant Bain & Company, China is home to $28 trillion of private wealth, including about $13.2 billion in cash and deposits.

This represents huge growth potential for the private banking sector in the next few years. In general, assets under management at China's private banks have been growing at a faster rate than for banks in any other Asian country.

Poised for growth in the next decade

With the rapid growth of HNWIs in China, the past 10 years have been a golden decade for CMB’s private banking business. Much of this success is due to the bank’s continuous focus on a strategy of creating differentiated, customer-oriented investment consulting services.

CMB is one of the first to provide HNWIs with an "open product platform" in domestic industry, which incorporates a wide range of high-quality financial products, integrating the resources of various brands and sectors. Currently, CMB private banking provides thousands of products across more than six main categories and over 30 sub-categories.

CMB private banking has also built on its core strengths in customer service by embracing new technologies and enriching the means of customer engagement. For example, the bank uses sophisticated technology to improve aspects of its business – such as information interaction with customers, investment and risk management, transactions and data processing.

In addition, through the application of new technologies and service models, CMB is continuously upgrading its capabilities and standards. This will enhance its core competencies and create better products, better services and greater value for its clients. At its core, this technology investment reflects the bank’s desire to always deliver the best private banking experience to clients.

Importantly, over the past decade, CMB has been committed to maintaining its leading edge in client service and corporate governance.

For the next 10 years, amid a changing macro background – as the Chinese economy transitions from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development – the domestic private banking sector is likely to evolve into a more mature, standardized and diversified market.

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