Private banking: Methodology
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Private banking: Methodology

For this survey, private banking is defined as banking services targeted at wealthy clients. The most obvious respondents would be customers, but 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. It is therefore a peers’ poll. Third party service providers are not allowed to vote this year.

Participating private banks were sent an online questionnaire in English by email, or were able to access the questionnaire directly from the homepage at

The poll had 2 distinct components this year - Part A (performance figures) and Part B (nominations).

For Part A, heads of private banking/ marketing/ business development were asked to provide on a REGIONAL-level basis: (i) their bank’s latest reported audited annual non-institutional private banking assets under management (AuM), (ii) average AuM growth, last 3 years, arithmetic mean, (iii) number of employees in private banking division -- average for latest audited year, (iv) net income from private banking -- latest audited annual figures, (v) year-on-year percentage change in annual net income; and on a COUNTRY-level basis: (i) latest year-on-year percentage change in the number of private banking clients, (ii) latest year-on-year percentage change in private banking gross revenue, (iii) latest year-on-year percentage change in private banking net income. For each of these variables firms were awarded points based on the maximum score from votes in the "Best private banking services overall" ranking in that region/country. The firm with the largest figures for each variable was awarded 3/7ths of the maximum vote score. The other firms were awarded points in proportion to their share.

In Part B, we were interested in the views of frontline banking staff – individual employees with a perspective on the relative merits and demerits of their banks and its competitors. We asked the voters to identify the country about which they had the most knowledge. They then nominated the peers in that country they thought were best, second and third in each category. We awarded four, three and two points, respectively to each of those nominations in that category and country. We also awarded a small number of points to the respondent’s own firm for each nomination provided.

Global and regional results are aggregates of country results. Regional Part A figures were used for the regional and global results and country Part A figures were used for the country results.

The poll was conducted from Tuesday 22nd July until Friday 17th October 2008. We received 1244 valid Part B votes, 65% up on the results published in 2008 (753 valid votes for peers), also 399 valid Part A forms were submitted representing $11.8 trillion of Assets under Management an increase of 55% over January 2008’s sample size of $7.6 trillion.

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