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Private banking 2004: The reinvention of private banking

In the bull market it seemed that investment performance would determine the winners and losers in the fast-growing and newly transparent private wealth management industry. But what the wealthy most need is independent advice and a sense of who is good at what. Euromoney surveys the best providers. Peter Lee reports.

Research by Kapila Monet, Elizabeth Mundy and Rebecca Sleath

Full results and methodology

Profiles : UBS Wealth Management , Sarasin, Bordier & Cie, Credit Suisse Private Banking, Coutts, Bank Privat, Degroof, Mandatum, SG Private Banking, Sal Oppenheim, CenE Bankiers, Banif, Cuatrecasas, Carnegie, Citco, Man Group, Noriba, UBS, PwC

THESE ARE WORRYING times for the private banks and other financial firms competing to win and hold the custom of the world's rich. As leading bourses enjoy a sustained rise after a prolonged bear market, wealthy individuals are recovering from the shock of seeing paper fortunes destroyed and are reassessing the performance of their financial providers through the recent wrenching volatility. They are not all happy with what they see.

Frank Canosa, managing director at Julius Baer, says: "When the malaise is general, as it has been, clients stay put. During a downturn, clients generally feel it's not the best time to change horses, as everybody is doing badly. It's now, when markets turn up again, that clients analyze you very directly. It's now that they may leave."

The first signs of the worst being over for high-net-worth individuals were already emerging by this time last year.