Global Finance rates the best high-touch banks in these low-touch times.
Each December for the past eight years, Global Finance has honored the leaders and innovators in the private banking industry with our World's Best Private Bank Awards.
These are the private banks delivering top-shelf financial services to the world's wealthy—entrepreneurs and tech tycoons, high net worth families and family business owners, well-heeled international executives and, yes, the very oldest of old money. Increasingly, these institutions are tapping digital tools to expand their capacity to serve an existing client base while expanding to offer services to a larger number of individuals. The trick is to do so without losing sight of the personal touch that makes wealth advisory so effective.
At the same time, the composition of global wealth is changing, and that, too, is driving change in this niche. As a new generation of wealth rises, it has brought not only tech-savvy but an increased focus on the threat of climate change and the role of private wealth in building a sustainable future for humanity. Additionally, wealth is truly global, knowing no borders; this brings added complexity to financial products and advisory services.
Today's private bankers need to deliver high net worth clients across an almost impossibly wide range of service, encompassing everything from retail-level services like credit card perks and high yield savings accounts to foreign exchange fees and investment bank services, all provided via seamless real-time digital interfaces.
For our readers, these annual assessments of the World's Best Private Banks provides a guide to the institutions best positioned to serve their increasingly sophisticated wealth management needs as they build, grow and preserve their fortunes.
Methodology: Behind the Rankings
Global Finance staff select winners for these awards based on entries submitted by banks, company documents and public filings. No proprietary information was sought or shared in the awards process. We consider local market knowledge, global footprint and investment breadth and sophistication. Because metrics are rarely public in this sensitive corner of finance, we incorporate perspective from analysts and consultants.
Performance data are also drawn from industry sources including Scorpio Partnership's annual Global Private Banking Benchmark and Asian Private Banker magazine's regional league tables. Size and growth are a factor, but Global Finance also considers creativity, uniqueness of offering and dedication to private banking as a core business either globally or regionally.
BEST PRIVATE BANK IN THE WORLD
J.P. Morgan Private Bank
A multiyear winner, J.P. Morgan Private Bank, with client assets of $1.9 trillion, has again been selected as best overall. On average, the powerhouse firm brings on a new client with more than $100 million in investible assets every other business day, and stands out for its ability to provide private clients with integrated private banking services—from personal finance to wealth services to investment banking—on a global basis.
“The most sophisticated clients in the world continually turn to us to solve their financial needs and to find a signal through the noise,” notes Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset and Wealth Management (AWM). J.P. Morgan private bank is among the world's largest private banks, and this past year, the company invested in talent: 377 new analysts, 162 new client advisers and more than 280,000 hours of training conducted across AWM.
BEST FOR WOMEN CLIENTS
Scotia Wealth Management
The Scotiabank Women Initiative is a signature program to increase economic and professional opportunities for women and nonbinary people. Scotiabank offers banking services and creative financing solutions tailored to women's strategic priorities. Offerings include working capital and inventory financing; and funding for capital projects, expansions, M&A and more. The Initiative, launched for Global Wealth Management, has transformed the ways in which it serves women clients, by giving advisers in-depth training, perspectives and strategies to help better support women in business.
BEST DIGITAL SOLUTIONS FOR CLIENTS
South Korea's Hana Financial Group aims to become a “customer-centric, data-driven information company” via the digital innovation of products and services. Its efforts have fast gained critical mass.
Hana has won accolades for its innovative approach to digitization, with its My Branch app proving wildly popular with clients after its launch in April 2021. Hana's IT development team worked with branch managers more familiar with the traditional paper-based mode of operation to create the app, which has originated $1.6 billion of personal loans.
That app and its user-friendly functionality provided a road map for the private banking franchise. The same flair for digital innovation was displayed by Hana Private Bank's My PB app, which launched this year and has also proved to be a huge hit with private banking clients.
My PB—particularly tailored to millennial users—allows clients online access to relationship managers and various services such as deep analysis of portfolio assets. Hana is working to further develop the app and broaden usage for different age groups within its asset management division.
BEST FOR SUSTAINABLE INVESTING
Last year, BBVA's Global Sustainability Office, created in 2020, formed a global sustainability team to design a strategic sustainability agenda for the bank, which has committed to aligning its business activity with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Private banking clients with their own sustainability objectives now benefit from the new ways BBVA has integrated sustainable values into its processes and activities, from screening and weighting in-house investment products or third-party funds (including the sustainability of individual companies invested in) through ensuring that its private bankers have all had sustainability training—preferably with an external certification.
BBVA is keeping well ahead of the EU's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and other recent European sustainable finance regulations. For example, sustainability-risk information is incorporated into precontractual documentation for clients, to ensure an appropriate portfolio can be assembled. Client reporting has also been enhanced to include environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria with data on the sustainability of the client's portfolio and individual holdings.
In-house fund management is committed to impact investing, through engagement with companies and voting at shareholders meetings, while at the same time investing directly in companies aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Private bank clients can also benefit from BBVA's rapid rollout of sustainable financing, including loans for electric or hybrid cars and favorable mortgage conditions for homes with better energy certification.
BEST INTERNAL USE OF TECHNOLOGY
BTG Pactual is investing big in employee development. Last year, the bank released an internal training platform, BTG Campus, which offers self-service training these as well as specific development paths for different functions. The available topics range from broad subjects, such as communications and corporate grammar, through behavioral finance, to targeted tools such as onboarding programs exclusively for the private banking team.
BEST BOUTIQUE PRIVATE BANK IN THE WORLD
With $5.4 billion in assets under management (AUM) in 2021, and $1.4 billion in bank assets, Fieldpoint Private is among the top 12% of US banks.
The bank services high net worth clients and ultrahigh net worth clients and businesses. The company has also been investing in technology and digital experts to drive growth. This team has built a digital tool suite to manage all interactions between the private bank and registered investment adviser (RIA) partners. These tools enable every adviser within each RIA partner to initiate a transaction or loan on a client's behalf and to track progress throughout its life cycle. This provides advisers with full, real-time transparency into the status of all banking business and ensures that the adviser can remain at the center of these critical components of their clients' financial lives.
MOST INNOVATIVE PRIVATE BANK IN THE WORLD
DBS Private Bank
DBS is betting heavily on tech, seeking to become an “intelligent bank” via artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) technology used to transform data into relevant, intuitive and hyper-personalized insights that meet the retail banking and investment management needs of wealthy clients.
The bank has embraced the digital-asset revolution via its Digital Exchange, or DDEx, which provides investors the ability to tap into a fully integrated tokenization, trading and custody ecosystem for digital assets alongside the opportunity of tapping alternative capital raising through security backed tokens. These are secured through financial assets such as shares in unlisted companies, digital bonds and private equity funds.
“We take a high tech, smart-touch approach to working with our clients, rooted in the belief that technology can greatly enhance the human touch,” says Joseph Poon, group head of DBS Private Bank in Singapore.
“Take, for example, our intelligent banking capabilities to curate insights that are hyper-personalized for our clients' needs,” he says. “We are well positioned to be at the forefront of delivering value in today's digitally disrupted world, where key challenges lie in building new ways of engagement.”
BEST FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Bank J. Safra Sarasin
One of Bank J. Safra Sarasin's sustainability objectives is to achieve commercial success while reducing its ecological footprint. It therefore seeks to increase energy and resource efficiency and reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. J. Safra Sarasin captures greenhouse gas emissions and has participated since 2013 in a program of energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets with the Business Energy Agency in Switzerland to reduce its carbon emissions. As a pioneer in environmental protection, the bank installed its own Swiss photovoltaic system on the roof of its Basel head office in 1993. It aims to contribute to goals such as the UN's SDG and the Paris Agreement. As an engaged supporter of the Science-Based Targets initiative, the bank is committed to setting and externally validating such targets.
BEST FOR PHILANTHROPIC SERVICES
Bank of America
Bank of America (BofA) ended its second quarter with more than $117 billion in philanthropic client assets. Commenting on this win, Jennifer Chandler, head of Philanthropic Solutions for Bank of America Private Bank, notes, “Last year, we had record growth in philanthropic balances. We are on track to bring in another $6 billion this year.”
The Private Bank's team of philanthropic specialists works with individuals and families across the Private Bank and Merrill to achieve clients' personal philanthropic and legacy goals, resulting in 40% growth in sales and 65% growth in AUM in the past five years. BofA saw a record in 2021 for its endowment and foundation investment services, with inflows and commitments of $10 billion.
BEST FOR INTERGENERATIONAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT
Bradesco Private Bank
Bradesco Private Bank's main event, entitled Family Forum, aims to strengthen its relationship with large clients' heirs, sharing trends, visions and ideas through lectures with experts offering high-level content on topics relevant to financial planning, asset management and managing high net worth. Along with that, Bradesco Private created a strategic front to target the Next Generation, aimed at serving the Y (millennial), Z and Alpha age cohorts by understanding their different needs and contexts, and bringing increasingly innovative solutions to financial guidance. One of the pillars of this initiative involves educational paths structured to promote development at each stage of life and support high net worth families on themes such as family, society, the individual and business.
BEST FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
BEST FOR NEW CUSTOMER SEGMENTS
PNC Private Bank
PNC Private Bank finds itself in not one, but two winning categories among the World's Best Private Banks 2023. The bank had AUM of $103 billion as of June 30, 2022, and showed positive total gross flows of $62 million, an increase of 185% from 2021.
This financial institution, which has been integrating its purchase last year of BBVA USA, saw its client base diversify into emerging ($1 million to $3 million investable assets), established high net worth ($3 million to $20 million investable assets) and multigenerational ultra high net worth clients (more than $20 million investable assets).
“The demographics of wealth are changing rapidly,” notes Don Heberle, head of PNC Private Bank, noting that sophisticated wealthy clients are coming from "increasingly diverse backgrounds" seeking help to "identify and achieve the values, goals and purpose behind their wealth."
BEST FOR ENTREPRENEURS
The Chinese megabank's private banking and wealth management division enjoyed a near doubling of AUM during the period under review and is able to summon the vast heft of its parent.
ICBC Private Banking (ICBC PB) intends “to deliver financial vitality to the real economy and serve the entrepreneur group and the real economy they represent,” according to Li Baoquan, general manager of the Private Banking Department of ICBC. The bank aims to build an entrepreneur-focused service ecosystem, to strengthen the real economy with comprehensive investment management and wealth planning services, and to develop strength in charitable trust services.
In September 2021, ICBC PB officially launched the Entrepreneurs Service Center, a sharing service platform to “invite entrepreneurs in.” By the end of this year, there will be 400 such centers, covering 140 cities and regions in mainland China, to provide platforms for entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and create business opportunities.
ICBC PB last year released the Report on ICBC Entrepreneur Wealth Health Index jointly with world-class research centers, establishing in the process the first quantitative wealth health research system for entrepreneurs in China. “During the past 15 years, ICBC PB has always put clients first and played to its advantages to support the development of China's economy,” says Qian Wei, section head at ICBC PB in Beijing.
BEST FOR FAMILY OFFICE SERVICES
The winner for Best Private Bank for Family Office Services for 2021 and 2020, Northern Trust has again taken the top spot in this category.
The financial institution tells Global Finance that it has “a dedicated Global Family and Private Investment Office (GFO) practice [that] provides a focused set of financial, banking and advisory solutions to the world's wealthiest families and the family offices that serve them. Today, the GFO's clients stand at more than 500 families who are situated in more than 30 countries worldwide. In addition, we serve 25% of the Forbes 400 ranking of the wealthiest Americans. The team has more than 265 dedicated service professionals in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Singapore and Australia.”
Besides a suite of estate planning and investment services, Northern Trust GFO also has family office technologies that provide comprehensive asset pricing, automated allocation services for accounting purposes, and anchor analysis, providing reporting and data visualization tools.
BEST IN EMERGING MARKETS
Central and Eastern Europe may be small and fragmented, but this emerging region's growing wealth is yielding an increasingly attractive private banking market. And in OTP, currently managing more than €9 billion (over $9.3 billion) in client assets, it has produced a nascent global champion, a standout in a region dominated by large Western European banks' local subsidiaries.
Through successful step-by-step expansion, OTP Private Banking (OTP PB) now has nearly 42,000 clients in 11 countries across the region. It retains around 40% of the Hungarian PB market and 25% of the AUM, but it's also market leader in emerging market countries as diverse as Bulgaria (DSK Bank), Montenegro (CKB Banka) and Slovenia (SKB banka). Its strategy in Albania is characteristic. Banka OTP Albania was created out of Societe Generale's local operation in 2019 and this year took over Alpha Bank Albania for €55 million. This strategy of takeover and merger has allowed OTP PB to grow and flourish and seems a template for expansion elsewhere.
BEST FOR NET WORTH UNDER $1 MILLION
The wealth management business of United Overseas Bank (UOB) gained a shot of adrenaline with the appointment of Chew Mun Yew, formerly of Julius Baer and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, to head the bank's private wealth division beginning in December 2021. His arrival at the bank marked the combination of its private bank and privilege reserve.
Under Chew, UOB is focusing on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as a top priority. To this end, last November it appointed Lena Tan—a 20-year UBS veteran—as Asean regional market head for UOB's private bank, spearheading the bank's expansion in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
To help muster his effort, Chew has almost 90 years of UOB's presence in the region as well as its vast regional network—comprising 500 offices in 19 countries—and the bank's ability to leverage the cross-sell via its open architecture.
BEST FOR NET WORTH BETWEEN $1 MILLION AND $24.9 MILLION
Scotia Wealth Management
Scotia Wealth Management offers strategic borrowing solutions, customized banking support, and a leading-edge concierge and travel management service. These have helped Scotia to become a prominent bank for wealthy clients. Scotia's Private Banker can set up a loan that allows the client to borrow against a combination of asset classes, all in one place with a single investment line of credit and, importantly, a single point of contact. Clients are able to access hands-on management of time-sensitive transactions in coordination with their other advisers; and they have access to a range of exclusive banking benefits, including preferred foreign exchange rates and certain annual fee waivers.
BEST FOR NET WORTH OF $25 MILLION OR MORE
Citi Private Bank
Citi Private Bank serves the high end of the UHNW market, working exclusively with clients whose net worth is more than $25 million—well more, in fact. The bank's strategy has been to focus on serving a smaller number of clients who have both great wealth (above $100 million, on average) and a high level of financial sophistication. The average net worth of new clients is up to $450 million.
One of Citi Private Bank's key differentiating characteristics is its “globality.” Another is its ability to offer a full suite of solutions from traditional banking products to more-sophisticated offerings such as art advisory and aircraft financing, as well as full access to Citi's institutional offerings.