Private Banking survey 2006: Methodology
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Private Banking survey 2006: Methodology

This survey has been designed to provide a qualitative and quantitative review of the best services in private banking, organized by region and areas of service. It also aims to be an informative guide for high net-worth individuals on the range of service providers that are available.

The structure of the survey questionnaire and the way in which scores were calculated are designed to highlight the firms that provide the most services at the highest level with the greatest success.

For this survey, private banking is defined as banking services targeted at wealthy clients. In order to make fair comparisons of quality services in different disciplines, we have ranked service providers alongside each other regardless of whether they would describe themselves as law firms, banks, or consultancies. That is because in each category, irrespective of a firm’s self-definition, it is providing a service in that sector to the same set of clients.

Another challenge was to find the most appropriate judges of the quality of these private banking services. The most obvious respondents would be customers. However, given their desire for secrecy and the issues of finding a representative sample, this was problematic. We have, therefore, asked the private banks themselves to identify the companies that they admire as the top providers of both competitive and non-competitive services. So, it is partly a peers’ poll.

First, we have produced an industry overview from the quantitative responses. A few of the highlights of these results are the important client segments, the services for which private banks most often use other providers, and the ratios of client-to-client relationship managers. We have also created a measure of industry capacity based on these ratios. Second, we have produced global, regional and country tables in all categories.

This is our third annual survey. We believe that we have found a fair and informative methodology and we have done little to change it. We have been encouraged again by the increase in the number and detail of the responses this year. Responses grew by 30% and generated more than 21,000 peer nominations. Our survey respondents accounted for more than $5 trillion in assets under management. Now that the process has become a tangible tradition, the year ahead is a good opportunity to look for improvements.

If you have comments or suggestions, please send an email marked for the attention of Kap Monet, head of special projects research, at

How the rankings are formed

Participating private banks agreed to respond to a questionnaire that included company and business details and peer nominations. All answers related to June 1 2004 to June 1 2005. All responses were approved by a senior manager at the responding firm. Specific answers are only published where allowed, and respondents have been kept confidential. The charts draw on data from the entire sample.

The country and regional awards are based on scores formed from a weighted combination of survey responses (30%) and peer nominations (70%). The rankings for the best global private bank and all sub-categories are based on scores from peer nominations only.

Survey responses

Here respondents described themselves, outlining objective details about their business such as age, assets under management, profitability, ratio of clients to relationship managers, number of branches, and services offered, etc. From this, a score was awarded to each respondent firm up to a maximum of 100. That score reflects the size and scope of each firm relative to its competitors.

Peer nominations

This element of the scores introduces a qualitative aspect to the assessment of each firm that is listed in the results.

Respondents were asked to nominate one or two high-quality competitive peers in a range of sub-categories such as art banking, services for ultra high net-worth clients, philanthropy, etc. For the sub-categories, each nominated firm was awarded a score that reflected how many nominations it had received relative to the other firms listed. For the country and regional totals, an aggregated score was produced from all the sub-categories.

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