Honoring This Year’s Best Private Banks

Global Finance feted the year’s best private banks at its annual awards dinner.

Darin Oduyoye (L) and Deborah Baron (C) of JPMorgan accept the award for Best Private Bank in the World from Global Finance’s publisher Joseph Giarraputo (R).

More than 35 global bankers from nearly a dozen countries turned out for the Global Finance Private Bank Awards 2020 at the Harvard Club in New York City in early March. The wealth management specialists traveled from South America, Asia and Europe to meet fellow bankers in North America and to celebrate Global Finance’s recognition of their expertise and capabilities.

This year, J.P. Morgan captured the top honor as Best Private Bank in the World. Singapore-based DBS Private Banking won three awards: Best Private Bank in Emerging Markets, Best Private Bank for Digital Client Solutions and Most Innovative Private Bank in the World. Citi Private Bank was awarded the Best Private Bank for Net Worth of $25 Million or More, while Northern Trust took the award for Best Private Bank for Family Office Services. BMO Bank seized the category of Best Private Bank for Entrepreneurs.

To handle the challenges created by this year’s uncertain macroeconomic environment, the award winners use highly skilled private bankers—along with a wide range of investment products and the right mixes of digital expertise and personal attention—to satisfy their clients’ expectations.

Dayla Kohen, senior vice president of the Private Banking division at Akbank in Istanbul, says Akbank is intent on bringing the next generation of existing clients into the Turkish bank’s fold. Its Next Generation program, for example, helps young people in their late teens and early 20s learn about the responsibilities associated with protecting their family assets and transferring these assets from generation to generation.

Robert Laughlin of Citi poses with the award for one of the bank’s numerous wins.

The Global Finance award winners are also successfully meeting their customers’ increasing demand for socially responsible investments. This expectation is escalating as millennials (the generation born between 1981 and 1996) in all countries accumulate more wealth and look for their expanding portfolios to be managed in a way that cares for the planet. As a result, private bankers are increasingly investigating how environmental, social and governance factors play into the investment products they offer their clients.

David Albright, head of Client Development for the global family and private investment offices at Northern Trust, says the bank offers a deep sense of service when meeting the long-term investing needs of its clients. Socially responsible investing is becoming increasingly important to them. “Doing well by doing good,” he says. Chicago-based Northern Trust is one of the oldest financial institutions in the US.

Pál Kovács, chief executive officer of CKB Montenegro, says his bank has carefully crafted a client relationship powered by the technological capacity that lets clients monitor their investments on a 24/7 basis, along with personalized service. “People are traveling. They are working abroad. They are in different time zones. Sometimes they are too busy to meet,” says Kovács, whose financial institution is part of the OTP Group. “We need to give them personal service and digital capabilities.”

Ranganathan Purushothaman, president of Edelweiss Financial Services in New York and executive vice president of the Edelweiss Group, says the Indian financial institution’s strong adherence to compliance and ethical business practices is an asset that attracts many clients.  “We are very strong on adhering to regulations as we offer wealth management opportunities,” said Purushothaman, who also heads International Compliance for the Mumbai-based group. He said the financial institution’s clients include many small businesses whose assets are expanding along with India’s wealth.

Sebastián Wenz, partner and Wealth Management manager at LarrainVial in Santiago, Chile, says the South American bank’s customers want well-diversified portfolios that tap into investments in local and overseas markets. Liquidity is also an important factor.

Alina Petropoulou, head of the Private Banking Kifissia Unit at Eurobank in Greece, says the success of a private bank is about creating the proper synergy for clients. These synergies include resilience, agility and innovation, said Petropoulou, noting that the word “synergy” stems from a Greek word (translating into “working together”).

After a reception and dinner, Joseph D. Giarraputo, Global Finance publisher and editorial director, again congratulated the group of winners. He acknowledged the pressure private bankers are facing with economic and political uncertainties, including global trade wars, a US presidential election, Brexit (the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union) and the spread of the Coronavirus. “All of these factors put pressure on bank margins, and bank managers have to leverage their capabilities,” he added.

Global Finance Editor Andrea Fiano then presented the Private Bank Awards 2020 to the executives of the winning banks. 

Darin Oduyoye (L) and Deborah Baron (C) of JPMorgan accept the award for Best Private Bank in the World from Global Finance’s publisher Joseph Giarraputo (R).