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OPINION

Private banking: Welcome back from wherever you’ve been

Euromoney hosts its first private banking dinner since 2019.

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JPMorgan's winning team

Faces peeked through the high, gabled doorways – nervously at first, then with growing confidence as they saw the gently glowing candles, tables set for dinner, the stage set for speeches, and waiters hovering to thrust glasses of champagne into their eager hands.

Yes, it was really happening. After an enforced two-year absence, Euromoney’s private banking awards were back, taking place this time in the grandiose surroundings of London’s Savoy Hotel.

This year’s event was a mini-dinner when compared with the medieval-sized pre-Covid banquets of years gone by, but that’s fine. The fact it happened at all, that the event acted as a homing beacon for private bankers from the likes of Zurich, Paris, Budapest and the Bahamas, is a positive, affirming sign that the world is moving on.

People are mustering again to celebrate their achievements – mask-free – and that can be no bad thing.

In fact, we had a ball. The assembled throng was treated to the wonderful compering of Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, and the wisdom of both Helena Morrissey and our own private banking and wealth management editor, Elliot Wilson.

People are mustering again to celebrate their achievements – mask-free – and that can be no bad thing

A financier, campaigner, author and mother of nine, Morrissey’s keynote speech ran a chronological gamut that spanned the causes of the Black Monday crash of 1987, to today’s manifold crises – conflict, climate, cost of living.

It’s due to the tireless gender-equality campaigning of people like Morrissey that there are no all-male boards among the UK’s top 350 listed companies.

She also struck a chord with her take on Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, warning that investors should take a long look at their holdings in China, which backed Russia’s errant leader from the start.

Be wary, she added, of buying into so-called ‘sustainable’ assets in a country where data is unreliable and greenwashing of dirty assets an ever-present danger.

The big prize of the night for best overall global private bank and wealth manager went to JPMorgan Private Bank.

The imposing and gregarious Andrew Cohen, executive chairman of JPMorgan Global Private Bank, collected the award, extolling the hard work of his team and the significance of Euromoney’s Private Banking Survey, the peer-to-peer ranking upon which these awards are determined.

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