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Asiamoney Private Banking Awards 2020: Taiwan



Best Domestic Private Bank: CTBC Bank

Best International Private Bank: Credit Suisse

Best for Asset Management: Taipei Fubon Bank

Best for ESG: E.SUN

Best for Wealth Transfer/Succession Planning: E.SUN

Best for HNW: CTBC Bank

Award winners

Best Domestic Private Bank: CTBC Bank

Best for HNW: CTBC Bank

CTBC Bank is the runaway winner of the best domestic private bank award. As a full-service lender, CTBC is a powerhouse across the financial spectrum, with more than 260 branches in 14 countries and regions, including 47 in Asia.

The Taipei-based institution enjoyed another banner year in 2019. Total assets under management in the broad span of its wealth division grew 8% year on year, with AuM in its ‘Private Privilege’ wealth division – offered to customers with upward of NT$150 million ($5 million) in financial assets, up 17% on an annualised basis.

AuM in CTBC’s ‘Private Plus’ division (for clients with assets of NT$30 million-plus) and ‘Private’ wealth category (NT$15 million and up) both expanded by 15% in 2019 on an annualised basis.

Ever ahead of the curve, CTBC recently rejigged its team and its resources. The Private Privilege category was created in 2018 with the aim of offering world-class wealth management services to upper high and ultra-high net-worth customers, from relationships managers with at least 15 years’ experience in the financial industry.

The quality of service compares keenly with those on offer at any global private bank, ranging from wealth transfer and succession planning to family offices and trusts.

A particular focus in recent years has been on helping Taiwan’s best entrepreneurs to plan financially for the future. Another key development in 2019 was the latest HNWI Report, published jointly by CTBC Bank and PwC Taiwan.

Covid-19 presents a different sort of challenge. The bank has reacted by reaching out to and communicating more with all of its clients across the wealth spectrum, again reinforcing the strength of its position at the apex of private banking in Taiwan.

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Best International Private Bank: Credit Suisse

 Francois Monet, Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse’s Taiwan coverage team is one the market’s largest and best established, delivering in-depth market insights and financial clarity in a time of global uncertainty.

Raw data underlines the value of the Swiss lender – overseen by its head of private banking for North Asia, Francois Monnet – to Taiwan and vice versa. Assets under management in its onshore private banking division rose by double digits in percentage terms year on year in 2019 as did its net revenue, despite a tepid industry environment and global concerns, even pre-Covid-19, over global growth and regional trade frictions.

Credit Suisse’s success is built around its regional and global strength and reinforced by the depth of its domestic coverage. It reckons that between them, its relationship managers bank 55% of the dollar billionaires on Forbes’ Taiwan list.

The bank implicitly understands that private banking in Taiwan has two heads. The first faces out, to the wealth generated by local entrepreneurs but stored overseas. The other faces inward and focuses on helping to manage the wealth generated and stored onshore by family-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

The bank is an innovator, too. When a number of clients came to it last year in search of ways to temper their exposure to market volatility, Credit Suisse’s answer was to roll out a range of smart structured products, including promissory notes on funds and equities that helped customers to hedge against further falls in asset and equity prices, while letting them take part in any subsequent upside gains.

In 2019, Credit Suisse further bolstered its integrated banking platform, thanks to the launch of its Asia Trading Solutions unit, which brought together under one roof its regional markets and private banking solutions teams, and its Asia Pacific Financing group.

The latter extends customized solutions to a range of high-end clients, including ultra-high net-worths, entrepreneurs, corporates and sovereign and institutional clients.

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Best for ESG: E.Sun

Best for Wealth Transfer/Succession Planning: E.Sun 

E.Sun Commercial Bank is a lender on the rise. It is unusual in Taiwan in many ways, not least due to the nature of its investor base.

 Joseph Huang, E.Sun

Its shareholders include a host of Western institutional investors, as well as Morgan Stanley, mainland lender ICBC, and the private equity arm of Singapore’s GIC Special Investments.

Its private banking division’s star is also on the rise. The number of customers with assets under management of more than NT$30 million ($1 million), as well as its total AuM, both grew by more than 15% for the third year straight in 2019. Its 40-strong team of relationship managers focuses on succession planning, leveraging individual talents and qualifications.

To reinforce and diversify their skill base, RMs took part in 79 internal training sessions in 2019, over a course of 86 hours, meeting with external lawyers, accountants and offshore trust experts.

Succession services are at the heart of the bank’s wealth management business. Under the leadership of chief executive Joseph Huang, E.Sun keeps abreast of regulatory changes that affect onshore and offshore customers.

When lawmakers changed the tax rules in 2019 to make it easier for funds to repatriate capital, its relationship managers were on the phone to clients, advising them about ways to restructure succession plans. Its long-time investment in digital, meanwhile, ensures it can draw quickly and efficiently from a deep well of data when handling client requests.

It stands out in other ways too. E.Sun has long been one of the strongest lenders in the environmental, social and governance realm, and it works tirelessly with clients to ensure their money is put to work in ways that do not harm the environment or society.

It doesn’t pay quarterly or half-yearly commission to its sales force or to consultants: it believes that to do so generates a short-term attitude to investment and leads to miss-selling.

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Best for Asset Management: Taipei Fubon Bank

 Roman Cheng, Taipei Fubon Bank

Taipei Fubon Bank, Taiwan’s third-largest privately owned bank by total assets, has been a leader in asset management for a long time.

Its unique and customized asset allocation services lean on the bank’s award-winning digital division, matching solutions to the exacting needs of high and ultra-high net-worth customers.

In 2019, the bank created a new HNW division and launched Fubon Wealth Solutions, a new private bank brand overseen by president Roman Cheng, which treats each customer like a business. Its tie-up with Lombard Odier allows it to offer high-end products designed by the Swiss lender, with a focus on asset allocation, family management, tax planning, overseas investment and wealth succession.

The Taipei-based financial institution, created in 2005 via the merger of two of the country’s largest full-service commercial lenders, also leans on Lombard’s risk-monitoring mechanism to enable the real-time monitoring and adjustment of every HNW or UHNW client’s core asset allocation.

The net result is a process of monitoring and measuring, which results in portfolios being constantly assessed and scrutinized to ensure they adapt to prevailing challenges, be they local, regional or global.

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