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Private banking 2012: Local players step up fight for CEE wealth

While global and regional banks lead the results in Euromoney’s private banking survey for Central and Eastern Europe, local specialist wealth managers are rising up the ranks in many countries.

Who do you trust? Who do you choose? The adviser round the corner, who intimately knows you and the market you work with? Or the big regional player, with its infrastructure, balance sheet and brand?

For more than a decade, global banks and those with their sights set on a leading position across the region have dominated the whole spectrum of banking in Central and Eastern Europe, including wealth management.

But with large parts of emerging Europe going through their own financial crises over the past four years, that might be starting to change.

Private bankers across Central and Eastern Europe all say their clients exercise more caution now than before and have lost their appetite for risk.

"We have definitely noticed a certain level of uncertainty regarding our clients’ confidence in the financial markets," says Bernhard Ramsauer, head of private wealth management at Deutsche Bank in Austria. "Investment strategies are characterized by a higher level of risk aversion."

The big international brands still lead. Credit Suisse, UBS and Citi topped the overall regional rankings for Central and Eastern Europe in Euromoney’s annual private banking survey. Russia, the largest country in CEE, reflected this pattern, with the global players performing well: Credit Suisse, UBS and Deutsche Bank took the top three spots.

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