World’s Best Private Banks 2023: Asia-Pacific

Global Finance announces the best private banks in the Asia-Pacific region.

As has been the case in the Americas and Europe, the past year has brought immense challenges to the private wealth management industry in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), not least the ability to deliver appropriate asset allocation to clients. Innovative product structuring and select private equity and debt offerings are increasingly crucial weapons in Asia’s private banking armory as its rate tightening cycle and growth dynamics lag the West’s but threaten speedy catch-up.


DBS Private Bank

Within APAC’s private banking industry, Singapore’s DBS once again stands out. The numbers tell a strong narrative for the review period: In 2021, the bank saw fee income rise 18%, due to increased client activity across a range of investment products; assets under management (AUM) rose 13%, thanks to frothy net new money (NNM), which grew by a compounded 35% between 2019 and 2021. That enviable NNM growth was accounted for in large part by inflows from China, demonstrating the wisdom of the bank’s strategic decision to focus on that market. Regional peers such as Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan and UBS lagged DBS in China-contributed AUM. DBS operates its private banking and wealth management division with stringent attention to cost, with a cost-to-income ratio under 50% in 2021—well below the global private-bank standard of around 60%. DBS’ private banking growth in the region was largely driven by its family office franchise—AUM in that segment surged an unprecedented 200% last year, with a record pipeline in excess of 1 billion Singapore dollars (about $728.9 million) waiting for activation—and the rise of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues as a concern for investors.


Standard Chartered

As ESG-aligned investment practices balloon within APAC, clients are increasingly demanding sophisticated investment products and detailed ESG-risk profiles. Standard Chartered made strides in this arena with its ESG Select review process to identify and curate wealth solutions.

The bank innovated in the sustainable investment stakes this year with an ESG floating rate note linked to the US dollar secured overnight financing rate, raising $370 million on a product, offering a range of payoffs, with proceeds to be invested in green and social projects. It was distributed to a broad range of affluent clients in Asia.

“Our deep local knowledge and nuanced perspectives on sustainability saw us responding to market opportunities to offer clients an innovative ESG floater note,” says Raymond Ang, global head of private and affluent banking at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore. “Strong due diligence with our ESG Select framework continues to enable us to curate high conviction sustainable solutions for clients.”


Hana Bank

South Korea’s Hana Bank led the charge toward acquiring clients in the young demographic segment via the use of innovative digital technology. Hana’s My PB app proved to be immensely popular with private banking clients—especially millennials. The app lets them interact with their relationship manager online and access services such as an analysis of all assets, as well as hyper-personalized solutions in areas such as taxes, inheritance and real estate.

“In tandem with the ever-increasing digitization in financial services, Hana Bank developed and enlarged its digital wealth management product offerings and services via the recently launched digital PB app as well as other online channels,” says Cho Yoonshik, head of Hana’s wealth management division in Seoul.

Hana perhaps nowhere better demonstrated its embrace of the new generation of clients and the need to deliver innovation than with its Marble of Investment digital service, which combines investment with gaming, on the bank’s Hana 1Q app, developed with Netmarble, a South Korean online game publisher.