The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Peninsular wars

Private bankers in Spain and Portugal are working hard to tap a rapidly increasing group of high-net-worth individuals. In an undeveloped market, foreign banks are fighting over the spoils with local commercial banks that already have strong customer bases and a few local private banks. Clients can expect great personal service, if not the best advice and products.


THE NUMBER OF high-net-worth individuals on the Iberian peninsula is increasing fast, so financial institutions are trying to establish themselves as the top choice for private-banking services. The domestic commercial banks and savings banks are developing private banking units, consultants are establishing new boutiques, foreign banks are re-focusing on private banking, and the specialist private banks are hiring. "Just about everyone is trying to get a piece of the market. I wouldn't be surprised if restaurants were next to open up their own private-banking units," says a Spanish banker.

In the past five years, the commercial and private-banking sector in Spain has grown 34% by assets and 14% by clients, helped by solid growth in GDP, a strong national savings rate, and low allocations to equities. Indeed, in 2003, Spain boasted the fastest growth rate in high-net-worth individuals in Europe. "Given that specialized private banking is increasing its market share, financial institutions are now having to develop private-banking units as part of a defensive strategy," says Jaime Hap, commercial manager at Beta Capital MeesPierson.

"Three years ago private banking was not considered a viable business in Spain, and some banks pulled out," says Luis Moreno, head of marketing for private bank Banif.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree