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Wealth management puts China PBs among world’s largest

China Merchants Bank, ICBC and Bank of China are among the top 20 largest private banks globally, according to a report from Globaldata and Private Banker International.



Measured by private banks’ global assets under management as of 2016, China Merchants Bank is the 11th biggest with $239bn in AUM. Among Asia-based banks, it is the largest.

It was ranked 14th one year ago. CMB is the sixth largest bank in China by assets. It acquired Wing Lung Bank in Hong Kong in 2008, which also has a private banking arm.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the nation’s largest lender, remains in the 18th position with $174bn in AUM, followed by Bank of China, ranked 19th with $144 in AUM, according to the annual rankings.

“[China’s] banks have grown their private banking AUM in recent years, riding the wave of an expanding domestic wealth management market. However, a select few have crept up into the top global echelons of wealth managers by prioritising the HNW and ultra HNW segments,” said Bartosz Golba, head of content for wealth management at Globaldata, a research firm.

“Despite a smaller footprint on the mainland, China Merchants Bank’s focus on helping affluent Chinese internationalise their wealth has fueled its growth. The 2017 expansion of its private bank in Singapore still needs to be seen through the lens of its mainland strategy, giving its Chinese clients more options in Asia’s private wealth management capital,” the firm added.


The top five spots have remained unchanged – UBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan.

HSBC and Deutsche Bank fell in the rankings after reducing their international footprints, the report noted. 

The three Chinese banks are also the only Asia-based banks that made it to the top 25. However, the report emphasised the rise of other banks from in the region.

“The Asia-Pacific region, which saw much M&A activity in 2016 and will see more in 2017, is where we expect new top international wealth managers to emerge. Banks such as DBS Private Bank and OCBC’s Bank of Singapore, which have been bulking up significantly through acquisitions, are the ones to watch,” the statement said.

The OCBC Bank recently annouced it will acquire National Australia Bank’s private wealth business in Singapore and Hong Kong. Its private banking arm, Bank of Singapore, just completed the takeover of Barclay’s wealth and investment management business in the same regions last November.

DBS, the largest bank in Southeast Asia, won ANZ’s Asian wealth management and retail units in October 2016. Two years earlier, it bought the private banking activities of Societe Generale in Singapore and Hong Kong, FSA reported earlier.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.