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Wealth

Private Banks seek the right model for Asia

Asia's high-net-worth individuals are getting richer quicker than those anywhere else. Wealth management has never been so competitive in the region but is a potential goldmine for the smartest bankers. Chris Leahy reports.

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THE ART THAT graces the walls of the new offices of Credit Suisse Private Banking in Singapore is probably as valuable as the old masters in many head offices in Geneva and Zurich, but it is certainly a lot more modern. And the client meeting room looks more like a designer's studio than home to one of the world's largest and longest-established private banks. The ambience says a great deal about the new face of private banking in Asia.

"The private-banker's role has become very challenging," says Didier von Daeniken, head of Credit Suisse Private Banking for southeast Asia. "The successful private banker has to like dealing with people. Clients expect someone with a broad culture, who is conversant with a wide range of interests and not someone who just talks about financial markets."

Rico Caduff, managing director and regional head of private wealth management at Deutsche Bank, takes a similar view. "You have to look at private banking from different angles," he says, "the products we offer now compared with say five to 10 years ago are vastly different."

Deepak Sharma, head of Citigroup Private Bank in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, agrees.

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