Asian Private Wealth Booms as Assets Surge Above $2 Trillion

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(Bloomberg) -- Assets under management at private banks in Asia surged 29 percent last year to top $2 trillion for the first time, driven by strong flows from China and buoyant financial markets, according to Asian Private Banker.

“Asia’s private banks benefited from a sustained market rally and robust client activity to deliver strong AUM growth and, in many cases, post record revenues,” said Sebastian Enberg, editor of the Hong Kong-based publication. It was the fastest annual growth in wealth assets in the region since Asian Private Banker started collecting data in 2012.

UBS Group AG topped the ranking of the biggest 20 firms by managed assets, followed by Citigroup Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG, according to the survey released Thursday. The top six spots were unchanged from a year earlier, according to the data, which exclude mainland China.

Companies are increasing their Asian wealth presence in pursuit of fees from millionaires who are getting richer quicker than those in North America and Europe, thanks to booming economies in the region. DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and Bank of Singapore have built up through takeovers, while firms including Morgan Stanley and Julius Baer Group Ltd. took to hiring instead.

Takeovers helped smaller players expand. LGT Group, based in Liechtenstein, advanced 3 places to 12th after more than doubling its assets to $63 billion. The bank completed its purchase of ABN Amro Group NV’s private banking business in Asia and the Middle East last year.

Report Highlights

  • UBS’s headcount rose 2 percent; its AUM jumped 34 percent to $382.7 billion
  • Morgan Stanley’s staff numbers jumped about a fifth to 298; assets climbed 44 percent to $102 billion
  • Julius Baer and China Merchants Bank Co. saw AUM growth of around 40 percent, without making acquisitions

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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