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Private banking in Asia: Breaking borders

Local private banks in Asia are starting to make inroads into the top end of the business, but most are still struggling to build a regional presence.


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The rapid rise of many of Asia’s largest economies has created individual wealth in the region on a grand scale. Visitors to any of the region’s hubs will not have to go far to see the evidence that big money is being both earned and spent. As private wealth has grown quickly, so has the number of wealth managers looking to handle the financial affairs of the newly rich.

A variety of pure-play private firms and universal banks with wealth management arms has aggressively chased business in the region, particularly since profits in other areas of banking decreased after the financial crisis. But as the industry develops in Asia, the question of what role regional firms will play in the competitive landscape is becoming ever more pertinent.

“I am convinced that the regional players will become more and more important as they have the network,” says Peter Kok, regional head, Asean, private banking clients, at Standard Chartered. “You will find that the entrepreneurs will deal with a number of the banks as they have to service different parts of their business.

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