Posted inNews

Credit Suisse targets Philippines’ growing wealth

Credit Suisse is targeting the Philippines' wealth management industry with the establishment of a representative office in the country, according to statement from the firm.
Credit Suisse targets Philippines' growing wealth

The Swiss bank has received a licence from the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to operate a representative office in the country, the firm said.

“The representative office represents our first step in building and expanding our wealth management footprint in the market,” Benjamin Cavalli, head of private banking for Southeast Asia and Singapore CEO at Credit Suisse, said in the statement.

Credit Suisse already received regulatory approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, in November last year and began to file its articles of incorporation with the SEC, Chuchi Fonacier, BSP’s deputy governor for supervision and examination, told FSA previously. However,  the bank did not reveal its plans or the purpose of its representative office at that time.

With a representative office, foreign banks may promote and provide information about the services or products they offer to domestic clients. However, they are not allowed to make transactions in the country, Fonacier said.

“An additional representative office in the Philippines complements our existing footprint in the country across investment banking, capital markets and institutional brokerage,” Christian Senn, who was appointed as Singapore-based Philippine market group head for private banking in June last year, said in the statement.

The Philippines presents an opportunity for Credit Suisse as wealth is expected to grow in the next few years, the firm said, citing findings from its 2017 global wealth report. The number of adults with wealth of at least $1m grew by 13% in 2017 from the year before, to reach 38,000, while the number of ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals with at least $50m in wealth grew 13% over the same period to 400. These two wealth management segments are forecast to expand by 10% per annum in the next five years.

Much of the UHNW wealth in the country remains in family businesses run by first or second generation entrepreneurs, the report noted, adding that the Philippines ranks 11th globally in terms of the number of family-owned businesses.

Lombard Odier is another private bank that has targeted the country’s wealth management industry. However, instead of setting a representative office or domestic operations in the country, it partnered with Manila-based Union Bank last year to launch products targeting the country’s rich. It has made similar arrangements in Indonesia and Thailand, where it partnered with local banks.

Besides Credit Suisse, there are 11 other banks that have representative offices in the Philippines, such as UBS, Bank of Singapore, Wells Fargo and DBS, according to data from the country’s central bank.

The representative office of UBS in the Philippines is focused on investment banking, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for the firm said previously. The bank does not yet have plans to promote its wealth management platform in the country.

In Asia-Pacific, Credit Suisse has wealth management hubs in Singapore and Hong Kong, domestic operations in Australia, Japan, India and Thailand, as well as representative offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, according to the statement.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.