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Private banking: Where there’s wealth, there’s a way

Integration has become the key goal as banks look to boost their wealth management revenues.

Credit Suisse’s taking of the title of best global private bank in this year’s Euromoney  private banking poll indicates that the integrated universal banking model is working. The bank has succeeded in making sure retail banking clients in Switzerland get moved up into the private bank, and that private banking clients use the investment bank and asset management arms when it is suitable. That added SFr3.6 billion ($3.4 billion) to total revenues over 2009, which is no small feat.

Other banks are trying the same approach. Citi Private Bank has been trying to build its private banking business by selling the importance of having an investment bank attached with limited impact other than in the Americas, and now UBS’s chief executive, Ossi Grübel, says he is going to make sure the two businesses of private banking and investment banking are more integrated.

Elsewhere, HSBC has placed its private bank within the growing empire of global banking and markets chief Stuart Gulliver. The two new chief executives at Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, respectively James Gorman and Brian Moynihan, both make a big play of their wealth management platforms – especially in the US – as a foundation of their firms’ strength.

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