Americas private banking debate: Internationalization is the future

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Wealthy clients increasingly need international products and services. The opportunities are clear for those who can stomach the regulatory hurdles of cross-border business and who can leverage their retail or investment banking connections. Technology investments are crucial, but the competitive landscape is opening up.


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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

• International banking advice is crucial as globalization shows no signs of slowing

• US/China trade dispute has limited impact on wealthy families’ banking needs, but will impact their portfolios as markets respond

• Regulation continues to be a burden as countries have multiple regulators that banks must work with, while harmonization of regulations looks unlikely soon

• Family offices and multi-family offices are increasing in number around the world 

• Technology is a key differentiator for private banks today

• Appetite for philanthropy and sustainability is growing in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East

Clive Horwood, Euromoney Everyone here today is dealing with clients with international needs and there is a sense that clients are only going to become more international. How important is it today, therefore, to have an international private banking platform? Rick, as the largest manager of wealth assets worldwide, can you tell us how UBS approaches this?

RG, UBS Our clients are global citizens, and what we mean by that is we may have a client who created his fortune in the US but has children all over the world, or he may manage a global business. These types of clients need a global bank for their wealth management needs. In addition, regulation has become increasingly complex. 

Opening wealth management or banking accounts in a different country is a complex undertaking. If you are a US citizen and you want to open an account outside of the US, you likely have to go through a US-registered entity, and not every bank in the world goes through the motion of registering in the US. At UBS we are in the business of serving international clients globally with booking centres in the principal markets around the world. 

Euromoney Andrew, JPMorgan is also one of the few global financial institutions, what’s your take on the importance of being international? 

AC, JPM We’ve always been an international firm. In fact, JPMorgan’s earliest roots are actually in Britain. We recognize that families are no longer resident and domiciled in just one country. In many cases it is multiple countries. Additionally, with wealthy families you have to think about both the corporate and private sides of their balance sheet. So, the linkage to investment banking and the wholesale business of JPMorgan is key for clients – particularly outside of Europe and the US.

The process of acquisitions and disposals of assets differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so clients need an adviser who can see across countries. What’s interesting is that this demand is becoming more uniform. A client from one part of the world has more similar needs to a client from an entirely different part of the world far more than they did 10, 20, 30 years ago when there was more local necessity. 

Euromoney Rick, UBS recently combined its international wealth management business and Americas wealth management businesses, when it was previously thought too complex to do so. How hard has it been? 

RG, UBS Being global adds additional complexity. To be a real global wealth manager you have to have operating banking operations globally. It’s not about servicing your client base out of the US or out of Zurich. On that setup, you are basically a US-based bank serving the world or a Swiss-based bank serving the world from your home country booking centre. 

We can’t be in every country in the world but we have wealth management hubs across the major regions globally. One of the objectives of our global reach is that clients will have the same look and feel at every UBS office they walk into, along with a global house view with a consistent approach to investment advice. It’s an ambitious undertaking. 

Euromoney Denis, you have worked for several global banks within wealth management – what were their challenges?

DK Cost of regulation. Since 2009/10 it’s now imperative to comply with several local and international regulators for just one client – instead of just regulation in the one booking centre. So, if you want to have a global approach, you have to be willing to absorb those costs. 

Euromoney Augusto, are your clients in Brazil becoming increasingly international?

AM, BPB Specifically around investments, yes. Until four to five years ago, we had 12% interest rates in Brazil, but now they have come down clients are looking to international investments, so we are adapting our products and services. 

Euromoney What kind of international exposure are they interested in?

AM, BPB Well sophistication is increasing – and importantly diversification too. So it’s not just plain vanilla products but also alternatives and illiquid assets like real estate in Asia and in developed markets. We have an operation in Luxembourg now to assist in this.

Euromoney And Mr Ji, China Merchants Bank has a very strong domestic business and now you are looking to internationalize that here in the US. How are you doing that? 

TJ, CMB We started the process of internationalization four or five years ago, simply following the footsteps of our customers. Now we are in Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, Sydney and will also expand to other major cities. 

Rather than serving international clients like some of our peers here, we are helping our domestic clients with their international needs. They are clients of ours already, who might be looking for M&A for their business abroad, or perhaps they want to do an IPO. Their children could be studying abroad – there are many opportunities to provide advice for our clients as they become more international. We’re still at an early stage in the process however, learning local business and regulations. 

Euromoney How high on your clients’ list of priorities is being served on an international basis? 

TJ, CMB Very high. Some of our clients have assets overseas due to their business dealings, such as IPO-ing overseas or pursuing cross-border M&A. While they will use global banks to be served, there is something of a gap in understanding Chinese clients and their own market. That’s where we can play a role for these global clients. We understand their needs, understand where their risk preferences are, and how to find suitable methods and products in the international market to build their overseas portfolio. And we also understand very well what this overseas portfolio means to the client’s overall portfolio, because his main assets are still in China, and we know what his risk exposure is, so we are able to provide a more comprehensive balance for the client.

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Euromoney And for you Rick, is it a priority for clients – selecting a bank that can serve them internationally? 

RG, UBS My experience is that clients will have most of their assets booked in a primary booking centre, like the US, Apac or Switzerland, but will want to leverage our global capabilities around the world . For example, if they are making investments in Greater China, they will value the advice from our local professionals on the ground. 

AC, JPM We see a division between service and solutions. Solutions are becoming increasingly global in nature. So if a client is interested in the emerging tech space, you need a view not just into Silicon Valley but also in Shenzhen’s payments, healthcare and tech businesses. It’s the same for Tel Aviv or Stockholm; and if you don’t have that view, you’re going to miss out on serving clients. 

On the service side, you often see a client with a son or daughter who needs a mortgage in New York or Boston, or who needs to open a bank account. That’s also where you need the global reach. We obviously benefit from having Chase on the retail side in the US. 

DK I would add that when it comes to unique investments – like private equity, for example – you really do need to have experts on the ground that know the market intimately. 

Euromoney Are any of your clients concerned about globalization, or even the threat to globalization? 

AC, JPM Globalization is not slowing down. The pushback may impact global markets and macroeconomics, but companies, whether they are in tech or oil or banking, are increasingly global. Every large organization has to be geared up to be so from technology through to operations, human resources and more.

Within markets, there are political situations that could make for nervousness. The biggest recent concern is US/China trade, which will impact markets in Brazil and southeast Asia and the Middle East. But the clients’ needs for their families and businesses continue, so our service to them doesn’t really change. 

Euromoney How is China/US trade affecting your business at the moment Mr Ji?

TJ, CMB Because everything is still unclear, we just can’t say what the impact it going to be for our clients and their companies and their business decision-making. Individual clients are also paying attention to China/US trade talks, it is not easy to evaluate the potential impact right now. 

At present, clients are looking for advice around allocating assets globally, sending their children to study abroad and building international contacts. Those trends are leading our business. Since offshore assets are still a small portion of the overall assets of most of our clients, I think the impact will be limited.

I believe and hope that trade conflicts will result in a rational outcome that may be beneficial to both individuals and companies. 

Euromoney UBS is well known for its house view? Rick, how much time is being spent right now helping clients navigate these large macroeconomic challenges? 

RG, UBS There are two things we are focused on right now – whether or not there is a trade deal with China. We believe there will be. Clients are very focused on what is happening in Washington. We have an office of public policy that publishes the Washington Weekly report that is currently one of the most-viewed client research reports in UBS. 

But most of our UHNW [ultra-high net-worth] international clients are focused on wealth preservation, which is one of the key ingredients in the liquidity component of the UBS Wealth Way. 

Euromoney Denis, do you see any changes in the global positioning of wealth managers because of these large macro events?

DK I think regulation has been the biggest driver of change. It’s costly now to stay in many jurisdictions, and we’ve seen major brands like Barclays pull out of regions. For banks that are having to pull back, it’s interesting to see whether we will have a return to the old days when financial institutions have agreements with local financial institutions. 

Euromoney Let’s revisit this thorny issue of anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations. How much does compliance hamper your ability to serve clients?

AC, JPM There is more of a focus on being selective about the clients with whom you do business. The key is using technology in a way that helps you be more efficient and productive. The greater disclosure you have from a client or family to meet the regulation requirements, the more you may be able to ascertain the financial solutions they would need. 

You cannot operate as a bank in world where compliance isn’t core to your business. 

RG, UBS In UBS and in the industry, this is a very significant topic. I can recall the early days of the business when you could on-board a client in a day or two. Now it’s a far more complex process that can entail an enhanced due-diligence process, which can take weeks and even months depending on the complexity of the client’s structure. There are large family structures that can have up to 50 beneficiaries, in which basically you have to perform the same due-diligence process on every family member. 

This same due-diligence process continues throughout the client relationship life cycle and not just at the on-boarding stage. In the US, we now deal with four local regulators as well as the Swiss regulator. They all have a focus KYC/AML and may even have a different view with regards to best practices.

Recent developments in this space have also led us to make investments in both IT and in additional staff with the right expertise. 

Euromoney Mr Ji, as you expand into the US, what is your experience with different regulators?

TJ, CMB Naturally the two countries are different, so we need to know the information required by the United States regulators and how to document that information. That said, China’s anti-money laundering regulations have risen to a high standard in line with international regulation, so the differences are not too large on this front. 

Our advantage is that most of our clients have a China background and we have established a long-term partnership with them, so we have a better understanding of them, their operation of company, their situation in China, including their business background. We have always been very prudent. We have US compliance officers, who have the final decision when it comes to opening accounts, and we’ve trained these officers on the Chinese market and Chinese clients. As mentioned by my peers here, compliance is the first thing to consider.

Euromoney Denis, would harmonization of regulations and rules around the world make it easier for wealth managers to become global? 

DK Absolutely, but first of all it would be good to harmonize the rules within one country. At the moment, you can have different views whether you are speaking to Finra’s agency in Boca Raton or New York, for example. Then yes, it would be helpful to have harmonization among the US, UK, Frankfurt and Hong Kong. 

Euromoney Do you think banks should do more to work together on this? You are all investing a lot of money in having your own systems when you could potentially share the costs?

AC, JPM This discussion is happening already and blockchain technology could be a helpful solution. With that technology, perhaps one day there would be one place to keep all documentation for a family with many beneficiaries in a central utility.

Euromoney Augusto, there was a fairly high-profile case of money laundering in Brazil. What has the industry learned from that?

AM, BPB Brazil is increasing its regulations in terms of AML and KYC, but right now the challenge we have is finding the balance. We can’t focus our time on things that are not real risks, but we also need to protect the financial market system and know even deeper our customers. 

Euromoney How much of a distraction is compliance these days?

RG, UBS Fifteen years ago, I spent 10% of day-to-day time during the year interfacing with regulators. Now I spend more than half of my time on regulatory matters. Our business is certainly not a zero-risk business, but managing risk to regulatory expectations is also a moving target, especially when you deal with multiple regulators. 

It’s tough to read where the KYC/AML debate will end, but we all know it will continue to be a challenging topic. We need to have a better dialogue in our peer group and explore ways to come up with an industry-wide solution to manage KYC/AML, client life-cycle management and on-boarding more efficiently. 

Euromoney What does all this mean for the competitive landscape? Are the complexities encouraging clients to have more partnerships with banks or fewer? 

DK I’m seeing the independent adviser arena growing rapidly. And depending on the wealth of the client, that may be a team or just a few specific advisers. 

AC, JPM Technology is changing the competitive landscape. In China, for example, where wealth is younger, many clients seek digital relationships when it comes to data and performance. So our relationships are becoming partly virtual and partly face-to-face. You have to keep looking across the competitive landscape and seeing what is being done to manage new ways of serving clients. 

In China and Brazil, a large majority of payments are done through a phone or digitally. That’s not the case in the US. But with this backdrop, it’s now more crucial than ever to own your own technology because of the competitive landscape and because of issues like cybersecurity. 

Euromoney Rick, what do you think about the client need for more service providers?

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RG, UBS We obviously like to think clients will consolidate more of their assets with us, but I do recognize that in the last 10 years we have seen a growth in the number of independent multi-family offices (MFOs), independent advisers or external asset managers. In Miami, there is a multi-family office opening almost every week and staffed by experienced industry professionals. 

The independent/external asset manager/MFO space is a force to be reckoned with, as they continue to offer flexibility to deal with different custodians and differentiated advice. They also have leveraged proximity as an advantage as they also continue to grow their presence in the principal markets that we serve. They are also very focused on offering niche services in areas that traditional wealth managers don’t provide or are not economically feasible to provide. There is also the topic around regulation for these providers where I feel that we will likely see more change in the future. 

Euromoney Augusto, what’s the view in Brazil?

AM, BPB It’s similar. Every day there is a new family office and a new independent house. We are waiting to see how the regulation touches these entities. We have something called an ‘AAI’ – an independent adviser that is linked to a brokerage house and trades for clients. Big families in Brazil and emerging markets still prefer proximity and a deep, long relationship, but that is not the case for the younger generations. Sometimes they prefer to trade electronically – and that is also a challenge for the independent advisers.

Euromoney Mr Ji, do you see your clients expanding their number of providers as they become more international?

AM, BPB Well, some of our clients moved internationally before China Merchants Bank did. Some of them were taking their companies public and so they have relationships with overseas investment banks and private banks. Being our clients in China, we complement those relationships. Just as I mentioned earlier, because of the better understanding of Chinese clients, when we expand overseas, we also have chance to provide service to them, including non-financial services. Through our overseas private banking services we can also strengthen the relationship with our client in China, which is more important to us. 

Independent financial advisers are appearing in China and offer some competition for us domestically, but it’s limited. Chiefly it is the Chinese banks that provide private banking services, so those are our competitors in China. 

Euromoney The trend Rick and Augusto talked about in terms of family offices and multi-family offices increasing, are you seeing this in China?

TJ, CMB MFOs are appearing in China, yes, and China Merchants Bank started this business two years ago with a department specializing in multiple family offices. I think from a scale point of view and from the point of view of building trust with customers, however, it will be hard for MFOs to compete with banks. Of course, there are the top richest people in China who are building their own independent single-family office but some of their investments or business may still need to be realized through the bank – this is a trend we expect to continue and business we hope to capture. We have set up professional service teams of multiple family offices in several major cities in China. 

Euromoney Denis, how do you think the growth of multi-family offices is changing the nature of a private banking relationship with clients?

DK The large banks are allowing them to exist as their own resources are limited and regulation is burdening them. And for some large investors, as long as the team is a good fit, it matters not whether they are in a bank or a multi-family office. The personal network counts for a lot. And we’ve all seen many success stories of private bankers going out and starting up their own multi-family office or independent shop. 

Euromoney Let’s talk about the specific pressures on global private banking right now. Andrew, what would you say they are?

AC, JPM Investments in technology, cybersecurity and a robust control environment are critical to operating as a global private bank today. Those costs have meant some industry players have focused on remaining purely domestic and caused others to retreat from various locations around the world. 

Euromoney So we won’t see any new players?

AC, JPM I think we will see niche players having success in specific areas or industries. That will be complemented by the huge transfer of wealth that will take place in the next 20 to 30 years. It’s possible that the next generation of clients may pursue setting up single-family offices. 

RG, UBS Speaking of single-family offices, at least twice a year I hear from a large client who wants to hire one of our bankers to help them establish or run their family office. It’s a genuine compliment to the quality of our talent, but more UHNW families continue to head in this direction in an effort to orchestrate their wealth management and day-to-day operating needs outside of the services traditionally provided by wealth managers and investment banks. 

From the leading wealth management providers, UHNW clients continue to desire higher-end services like wealth planning, philanthropy, aircraft finance and private investments, but they are also seeking advice and support in new business opportunities for their operating businesses, buying real estate or high proceed items like yachts, automobiles and collectibles as well. There are limitations to the services we as wealth managers can provide, and that will continue to fuel the rise in single-family offices. Naturally, as we see more and more billionaires globally, we will see more single-family offices catering to their every need. 

Euromoney Rick, you mention investment banking. How important is it to have a full-service investment bank alongside a wealth manager. Augusto, Bradesco has a leading investment bank, do clients value that? 

AM, BPB In the private bank we have a corporate finance solutions team that links with the investment bank. That’s happening more and more now that the economy is recovering and foreign money is returning to Brazil. Credit is also becoming more important for clients now that interest rates are coming down. It’s something a family office cannot provide of course. We have one of the biggest investment banks in Brazil and clients know that.

Euromoney What about in China, Mr Ji? How important is the tie-up with the securities business and the private bank?

TJ, CMB It’s very important, and our clients’ businesses have close relationships with us in commercial banking or investment banking in the overseas markets. We have helped our clients successfully delist and in mergers and acquisitions in the United States. It’s natural as our clients are entrepreneurs. In fact, we have a lot of clients that own companies that are listed abroad. Clients get a better service when the private bank and commercial bank and investment bank are working together. 

Euromoney Andrew, you have the world’s leading investment bank. How much is that helping you with international clients? 

AC, JPM It’s paramount to be holistic. We currently see a disproportionate level of family businesses in the emerging markets now coming to developed markets. Also, if you look at the number of listed companies around the world, they have decreased significantly since the crisis, the 1980s and the 1960s. Family businesses are staying concentrated within the families. However, they may need to make bolt-on acquisitions or to rethink their capital structure – so capital markets advice is needed. As well, the second generation may be looking to dispose of assets or evolve a family business. Having a seamless linkage between investment and private banking can be a real differentiator in this space. 

Euromoney UBS was the first, maybe, to rejig the investment bank, matching it to what the wealth management business needed. Rick, how is that working out?

RG, UBS Project Accelerate has worked out really well for our investment bank. It’s been a big change. Fifteen years ago we were trying to lead the league tables in all competencies of our investment bank. Now the focus of our investment bank is to support our mission as the world’s leading wealth manager. Still, having a strong investment bank is crucial, particularly with the many wealth transfer opportunities that lie ahead, whether it’s a liquidity event or a client that seeks to expand their businesses. 

There are also UHNW clients that have built extraordinary businesses where their children are not interested in being part of the succession plan, and they will eventually seek advice on potential options. We want to be there at the table when that happens. Without a competitive investment bank, you won’t be. But as a firm we also recognize that we cannot provide these services in all our markets, or for certain opportunities where we don’t have expertise. So we also have a reliable network of third-party providers to help us execute transactions outside of our space. 

Euromoney Denis, what are your thoughts on the extent to which wealth managers need investment banking capabilities? 

DK It’s key. I was brought in from the investment bank to the wealth management business at Deutsche Bank. The reason being you need to have the view of the client’s whole balance sheet. I’ve seen banks try to link up the two sides of the business for clients with varying degrees of success, but the opportunity is certainly there. There is always a need for an IPO or an asset disposal. The incentives for both the investment banking and wealth businesses need to be aligned however. 

Euromoney The synergies have been discussed for a long time, but it certainly now seems that banks are finally figuring that out. Let’s talk now about technology. How is the smartphone changing the wealth management industry. In China, Mr Ji, you are up against the likes of Tencent. How do you react as a business? 

TJ, CMB Mobile banking as a key point of development for us and we will invest more in fintech. Technology has been key in expanding our business overseas. In the past, it was very difficult for us to contact our clients overseas other than by email. But now, because of this real-time communication tool we have, even though time zones are different, we can communicate with our clients in the morning or earlier in the evening, be that sharing markets information or communicating about business. But there are challenges as you mention in terms of competition from the payments market like from AliPay and Tencent, but China Merchants Bank provides a more comprehensive service. 

Euromoney What about in Brazil, Augusto?

AM, BPB At Bradesco, we have 1.6 billion transactions per month going through mobile and we are fortunate to be able to use the technology of our large retail bank in the private bank. We typically use the technology to finalize trades or to confirm information. We still deal more in face-to-face or phone meetings, but it is helpful to use it for communication. The younger generations are obviously more used to online banking and we’re seeing new companies disrupt the affluent space, but in the ultra-high net-worth space, it is still the personal touch that is preferred. 

Euromoney Denis, do you see a tension between mobile and personal service in wealth management?

DK I know there are offices in Switzerland that still use fax machines, so let’s remember how far behind we still are! But yes, you cannot replace personal interaction with technology. Never. There are plenty of activities that can be replaced with digital means that will save advisers time. 

Euromoney Surely those with a technology budget must be at an advantage?

AC, JPM Well, we spend about $11 billion in technology across the firm and in R&D. We use AI and big data to make sure we are doing everything we can to enhance the client experience. In the world of large families, nothing will take away the personal interaction. But these days and particularly given everyone’s focus on sustainability, you can’t turn up with 400 pages of documents. Clients want to use a tablet. 

But to your point – yes, a big commitment helps because technology needs constant updating and how it is delivered also needs to constantly evolve. You used to call a banker in the 1980s to get a stock quote, now clients want that information on their iPad and they want it curated with other information. Technology is changing the face of hiring, too. If you go to our offices in Hudson Yards or Changi, you’ll find our employees in jeans; you won’t know if they are working for Tencent, Google or JPMorgan. 

RG, UBS We are in the information age, and information has become commoditized in many fronts. We don’t have the market cap or the IT needs of the colleagues to my left [JPMorgan], but we have made a sizeable investment in our IT capabilities and we have done this investment focused on our core franchise, wealth management. Our aim is to centralize our core IT capabilities in our three largest locations: the Americas, Europe and Asia. 

We are the world’s leading wealth manager, not an information technology company, so we have forged partnerships with fintech industry leaders like SigFig and Broadridge to serve our clients better. Some of these projects are significant and are still ‘work in progress’, but technology is changing incredibly fast and we are committed to serve our clients with cutting-edge solutions. 

Euromoney Sustainability was mentioned earlier and so maybe we can talk about how wealth is being used for good causes, and whether or not having a global platform is necessary for that? 

RG, UBS In the last decade I’ve seen clearly that clients’ eyes light up when they talk about passionate topics like philanthropy and sustainable investing. Clients are concerned about their legacy to society and how they can make a difference with the wealth they have created. Both of these topics are centre stage in the UBS Wealth Way. 

Every year we host a philanthropy forum in St Moritz where our clients can share their views with some of the leading philanthropists in the world. Impact investing is also a topic of great focus at UBS, although I have witnessed a higher focus from our US clients than from our clients in the emerging markets, where philanthropy is a preferred topic. 

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AC, JPM Philanthropy is at the core of our firm. In fact, J Pierpont Morgan was not only known for growing companies but also for leaving a legacy. I think philanthropy is becoming even more prevalent today because of the transition of wealth. Inheritors didn’t make the money, but they have the responsibility now as to what to do with it. 

We have found it helpful to introduce families that are looking at similar causes. These causes vary around the world. In Asia, where we will find some of the world’s most polluted industrial areas, environmental issues are receiving a lot of interest, particularly in supporting re-zonings or introducing wetlands. Interestingly, clients’ goals around their philanthropy is often more important to them than their investment portfolios. 

Euromoney In China, what are the thoughts around legacy and how are you helping clients navigate that? 

TJ, CMB In recent years Chinese entrepreneurs and the wealthy in China have been looking more closely at philanthropy. And last year we helped our clients set up charitable trusts. Charitable trusts are still at an early stage in China, but demand is growing. 

Euromoney Augusto, what is the appetite for philanthropy in Latin America, and to what extent is it a global concern? 

AM, BPB It’s becoming more and more important in Brazil. Indeed, the number one discussion during client events last year was philanthropy. We have a dedicated team within wealth planning that helps clients with their philanthropic goals. It’s something we have experience in within the bank, as Bradesco’s founder was a large philanthropist and the bank foundation supports free education for over 100,000 students. But I’ve not seen an international approach. Banks tend to work alongside their clients within their communities. In Latin America of course there is a lot of need for money and resources. 

Euromoney Do you think private banks are getting better at helping clients with their philanthropic goals? And aligning them with what communities and the planet needs? 

AC, JPM I think we’re seeing that public/private partnerships can have great impact. If you look at the Gates Foundation, for example; it’s been incredibly inspiring in how it’s changing the medical environment; other families are looking to make changes that are as impactful. As a corporation, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation has been investing in revitalizing urban areas such as Detroit, or northern Paris, and we’ve seen families want to engage in similar efforts. I think while philanthropy has always been very deep in the US and Europe, it is becoming more so now in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. 

Euromoney As we draw to close, let’s just touch on another event that might be impacting your global business – Brexit. Is this an issue for international private banking? 

AC, JPM In 2014 no one could have predicted Brexit, which highlights how there are many risks one just cannot foresee. We still don’t know what the outcome will be and yet we need to plan on the ability to execute for our clients. All this has a cost to it as an international bank. 

RG, UBS Right now the situation is fluid and unpredictable. But at UBS we have a strong presence in the UK and in the eurozone and we are prepared for any potential outcomes. 

Euromoney Great. So finally as we conclude today’s debate, maybe we can go round and each share what the greatest opportunities are right now in international private banking. 

DK Private equity. I see the future of wealth management more focused on private equity, where there are just a handful of parties between the investor and the real economy. Listed equities or liquid investments can be rapidly managed via digital platforms. The best-performing asset class of the last 20 years have been Reits [real estate investment trusts] for example, and those types of direct investments are going to be more and more important.

AC, JPM The international connectivity of younger generations to each other and to information is going to change banking. This new generation often speaks multiple languages, understands programming and is much closer to information than ever before. Their connection means they often invest together and are working together to enhance their own family relationships and to improve philanthropic outcomes. It’s a great privilege to be able to work with and serve them. 

RG, UBS The largest intergenerational transfer of wealth is upon us, and this is an immensely exciting and significant opportunity for our leading wealth management franchise. The fact that we are a truly global wealth manager, combined with the fact that the HNW and UHNW space is composed of global citizens is also an opportunity for us at UBS. And let’s not forget the fact that in Asia, a new billionaire is minted every other day – and one every three days in China. This is an enormous growth opportunity for international wealth management.

AM, BPB Brazil’s pension reform offers huge opportunities. With international money coming to Brazil, there is going to be a lot of change and a large diversification of investments. The next generation will also bring opportunity and change – a chance at wealth creation rather than wealth migration. We bought a co-working space that is sharing with new companies that we are learning from. It’s going to be a new environment from Brazil as of this year. 

TJ, CMB For China and for China Merchants Bank, an important opportunity for the private banking business in the next few years is that clients have begun a process of global allocation and will continue to deepen and expand that. 

I also strongly agree that the [inter-generational] wealth transfer is an opportunity. Chinese clients are now at the stage of passing on assets from the first generation to the second generation; and the second generation has a more international perspective because they tend to be educated abroad. Our banking services are going to become more internationalized – and that’s a big opportunity. 

Debate participants

1160x186Andrew Cohen (AC) is the executive chairman of JPMorgan Global Wealth Management. He oversees JPMorgan Private Bank’s Institutional Wealth Management practice and leads the partnership between the firm’s investment and private banks. In this role, he focuses on servicing the private bank’s largest and most sophisticated clients globally. 
     
2160x186Ricardo Gonzalez (RG) is the international division director of UBS Wealth Management USA. He has been at UBS for 32 years and is also the chairman of the board of UBS Bank (Canada) and the chairman of the UBS AG Private Bank in the US. 
   
3160x186Denis Kelly (DK) is an Argentine-born independent consultant. He spent most of his career with banks including Lloyds TSB, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse. He has worked in Buenos Aires, Geneva, New York, Montevideo and now Miami, where he joined Argentine Mariva Group in 2015. He has recently joined Deutsche Bank Wealth Management as director for Latin America.
   
4160x186Augusto Miranda (AM) is head of private banking at Bradesco, based in São Paulo. He started his career as a treasury analyst, assuming different roles in financial services companies including Safra Bank and HSBC. His 20-year career spans a variety of regional and global roles in equities, wealth management and derivatives.
   
5160x186Tong Ji (TJ) is head of China Merchants Bank Private Banking in New York. He has 27 years’ experience in banking, including corporate, retail, wealth management and private banking. Over the past 15 years he has focused on wealth management and the private banking sector and has witnessed the development of private banking business in China.
  


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