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Europe: UK regions offer the key to growth

The UK private banking market is in rude health. However, although London still dominates, banks are throwing resources into regional growth. The biggest obstacle to organic growth is the lack of suitable talent to drive this expansion. Banks have to decide on the best business development strategy – acquisition, organic growth or servicing from the City? Julian Marshall reports.

Switzerland enjoys a bumper year

Pierre de Weck, Deutsche Bank “Above all in this business you need patience and that is something you have to learn. Building this sort of business is very different to building a transaction business”
Pierre de Weck, Deutsche Bank

THESE ARE GOOD times to be a private bank in the UK. Private banking and wealth management is booming. London continues to attract the newly mega-rich from such countries as Russia and India. These resident non-domiciled clients are classic private banking clients. Likewise the old money of the landed gentry. But there is also a new generation of entrepreneurs springing up all over the country.

Latest research from McKinsey shows that the industry is enjoying average pre-tax margins of more than 35% and a growth rate twice that of retail banking. Profits in 2005 grew by 23%.

McKinsey also says that there is still big potential for growth, with only about half of the assets of high-net-worth individuals being managed by private banks.

Perry Littleboy, marketing director at Coutts, agrees that there is plenty of business to go around.

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