For nine consecutive years, Global Finance has recognized outstanding leaders and innovators in the global private banking industry through its World’s Best Private Bank Awards. The awards spotlight institutions that aim to build stability, trust, and growth for some of the largest fortunes on the planet.
Tailoring offerings, services, and performance to cater to a diverse clientele ranging from those with established fortunes to emerging tech magnates and the next generation demands a blend of expertise and vision. It also requires an ability to see past headwinds and help clients plot a long-term course.
This year has been a singular year for private banking, as providers watched the almost simultaneous fall of one of the largest private wealth managers in history, Credit Suisse; and one of the most innovative, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Despite which, the industry has shown resilience as historical powerhouses such as J.P. Morgan, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Citi, and Bank of America stepped up to prevent a financial crisis in the wake of the collapse of SVB, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank—later reaping the rewards, increasing their clientele, staffing, and structural capacities.
David Frame, CEO of J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Best Private Bank in the World: J.P. Morgan Private Bank
This year’s volatile macroeconomic backdrop did not phase our back-to-back award winner, J.P. Morgan. The global behemoth seized the opportunities that volatility afforded, posting phenomenal growth.
With an increasing focus on high-end clients, JPMorgan Chase’s wealth management division grew its net income an impressive 36% year-on-year (YoY) in the first quarter of 2023, 22% in the second, and 16% in the third. A key driver behind was the overnight acquisition of failing First Republic Bank in May, a move that calmed the threat of a deeper crisis in the US banking industry.
Moreover, J.P. Morgan Private Bank kept improving its offerings and global presence. This year, it opened a new US Family Office Practice and added to its teams in Asia and Latin America while making changes in upper management in both regions. —TM
Best Private Bank For Women Clients: Westpac Private Bank
Westpac Private Bank acts on the belief that commitment to diversity begins at home. The Australian market leader has set specific targets for gender representation within its leadership ranks, with the aim of filling 50% of leadership positions and at least 40% of board seats with women.
In March, the bank introduced a set of initiatives to support female entrepreneurs as part of its 500 million Australian dollar (about $318 million) commitment to women in business. The initiatives include offering startup loans of up to AU$50,000 with a three-year tenor and providing scale-up loans of up to AU$1 million to assist existing businesses in their growth, also with a three-year tenor.
“Boosting women’s entrepreneurship in Australia is important to the economy,” said Chris de Bruin, who has since stepped down as group chief executive of consumer and business banking, in commenting on the initiatives. “The longstanding gender pay gap represents a missed opportunity for innovation, social and economic value creation, and job creation.” —Jonathan Rogers
Best Private Bank Digital Solutions For Clients: DBS Private Bank
DBS initiated its digitalization journey in 2014, with the aim of developing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning models and utilizing cloud and open-source technologies to facilitate a transformation into a fully digital bank.
Since then, the Singapore-based bank has achieved several breakthroughs in the field, reducing costs by 30 million Singapore dollars (about $22 million) while increasing revenue by SG$180 million.
Among the most important developments are an internal self-service AI platform, an AI protocol, and a knowledge repository, enabling rapid AI deployment at scale. DBS’ integration of its relationship management systems with AI, referred to as the “phygital” (hybrid physical and digital) dynamic, has also played an important role in delivering optimal client service to its private banking clients. —JR
Best Private Bank For Sustainable Investing: BBVA Private Banking
Having been the top-rated bank on the Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Index three years in a row, BBVA is an undisputed global leader in the field. The Spanish giant’s success rests on two pillars: alignment of all loans and investments with the Paris Agreement and a comprehensive range of sustainable products and services for the bank’s clients.
BBVA offers a family of sustainable mutual funds whose managers are committed to impact investing. It also constantly monitors the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) credentials of third-party funds through its proprietary Quality Funds platform. Sustainability-risk information goes digitally to private banking clients in compliance with the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation. Finally, to ensure that its clients have confidence in its commitment, BBVA now requires all of its private bankers to hold an external sustainability certificate. —Jonathan Gregson
Best Internal Use Of Technology By A Private Bank: BTG Pactual Wealth Management
BTG has built an investment-solution ecosystem that aims to meet all of its wealth management clients’ medium- and long-term goals with an integrated, one-stop-shop approach. The platform leverages cutting-edge technology and up-to-date analytical information, enabling BTG’s team to upgrade clients’ financial experience into a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate environment.
One of the main features is constant dialogue with clients over their developing needs. For this, BTG focuses on three vital aspects: recruiting and nurturing top professionals for the front, back, and middle office and product areas; deepening its understanding of clients’ financial needs and objectives; and staying ahead by anticipating global and local market opportunities, especially during challenging periods. —Estela Silva
Best Boutique Private Bank In The World: Banque Richelieu Monaco
Reliability, investment performance, and tailor-made solutions are requisites for high net worth (HNW) and ultrahigh net worth individuals (UHNWI) shopping for a private bank. Banque Richelieu Monaco, which takes home our award this year as Best Boutique Private Bank in the World, checks all of these boxes, along with above-average staffing and growth of assets under management (AUM).
With nearly 40% of its AUM base landing in the UHNWI category, Richelieu maintained its focus on offering rapid, tailor-made decision-making, enabling clients to navigate wealth management seamlessly. It was rewarded with stellar growth this year, as AUM grew 17% and net profits an impressive 47%.
Richelieu’s strategic focus encompasses markets including Monaco and other European countries, which account for 60% of AUM; while Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the US account for the rest. Nonetheless, it has kept on building foreign partnerships, notably with Banque Richelieu GCC in Cyprus and Abu Dhabi. A recent collaboration with banking and wealth management software developer ERI has enabled the bank to improve efficiency and upgrade its technology offerings, improving client service. —TM
Most Innovative Private Bank In The World: Hana Bank
Hana Private Bank has made a name for itself as an innovator by offering new digital assets, accessible and manageable on Hana’s 1Q Bank app, to its HNW clients. The new products include security token offerings and fractionalized stakes in blue-chip artworks by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, Kusama, and Basquiat using nonfungible tokenization backed by blockchain technology.
The South Korean bank established Hana Art Bank in July 2023 in alliance with an alternative investment platform company to appeal to “microcollectors” via fractional ownership.
Hana teamed with KPMG in February to launch two more new offerings: succession planning services, including valuation and M&A advisory; and a private community linking younger HNWIs with CEOs for networking and business-opportunity creation. —JR
Best Private Bank For Social Responsibility Bank J. Safra Sarasin
J. Safra Sarasin sees sustainability as the most critical aspect of its approach to socially responsible investment. The Swiss private bank has closely integrated two key sets of standards: the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Both are embedded in Safra’s corporate strategy and core investment offering.
Safra has been ahead of the curve since it launched its first sustainable investment mandate in 1989, and it has consistently directed resources to companies that embrace energy efficiency and decarbonization. A founding signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investing in 2006, Safra launched its own proprietary Sustainability Matrix more than 20 years ago and today requires that all of its mandates be sustainable. —JG
Best Private Bank For Philanthropic Services: Bank Of America Private Bank
Winner three years in a row, Bank of America boasts the industry’s largest team specializing in philanthropic services: nearly 200 professionals, each with a minimum of 10 years’ experience in foundation and endowment investment management.
That commitment has garnered over $130.6 billion in philanthropic client assets as of the second quarter of this year. In addition to its expert team, the bank offers a suite of services that includes investment outsourcing, strategic consulting, advisory support, discretionary grantmaking, and specialized asset management. —TM
Katy Knox, President, Bank of America Private Bank
Best Private Bank For Intergenerational Wealth Management: BTG Pactual Wealth Management
As the private banking world buckles up to help manage one of the most significant generational wealth transfers in history over the next couple of decades, BTG Pactual Wealth Management is working to stay ahead of the pack. The bank’s Future Leaders program is dedicated to preparing heirs for roles in shaping future legacies through comprehensive education in legal, economic, and tax aspects of estate planning.
Recognizing the pivotal role women will play in guiding the next generation of wealth management, BTG also offers Financial Journey–Women Investors, a financial education and leadership initiative aimed at helping participants make informed financial decisions and explore diverse investment strategies. —ES
Best Private Bank For Business Owners Scotia Wealth Management
Managing approximately $1.3 trillion across the globe, Scotiabank has evolved into a powerful worldwide force. Since 2018, the Canadian bank has grown and diversified on the back of a series of multibillion-dollar acquisitions in areas including asset management and foreign exchange hedging.
Intergenerational wealth transfer and transition services are central to Scotia Wealth Management’s Enriched Thinking offerings. Scotiabank backs these up with the stability of its Canadian operations and its expertise across the globe. This helps entrepreneurs facing uncertainty in their home country to invest in more-secure markets.
A tailored fee structure helps Scotiabank to create a more customized practice with each of its business clients, backed by a five-year program that identifies customer needs and delivers solutions in one plan. Thanks to this approach, Scotiabank’s commercial banking business has seen sixfold volume growth in referrals over the past six years, to $13 billion. —Nic Wirtz
Best Private Bank For Entrepreneurs: Fifth Third Private Bank
Combining a deep knowledge of local markets with best-in-class global capabilities, Fifth Third Private Bank won high marks this year for service to entrepreneurs amid a volatile global economy. Its team of senior strategists, CPAs, and attorneys combined to produce a financial advisory offering that earned Fifth Third outstanding numbers in its customer satisfaction survey.
The bank continued to improve its tailored offerings to business owners. Last year, it partnered with a group of universities across the US on an exclusive survey aimed at understanding the strategies that middle-market business owners use in planning and executing transitions. The research yielded insights into the hurdles facing wealth managers in this market segment, particularly in the post-pandemic landscape, prompting further improvements in Fifth Third’s offerings. —TM
Best Private Bank For Family Office Services: Santander Private Banking
With dedicated teams spread across Western Europe, Switzerland and the US, Santander Private Bank has expanded its client base of family offices by 16% over the past year to 3,090 families globally.
Recognizing the unique needs of UHNW clients, the Spanish-based bank recently introduced a team focused on offering a comprehensive suite of strategic investment banking solutions for family offices. Santander’s flagship Private Real Estate Advisory (SPREA) program helps UHNW clients identify promising investment opportunities and efficiently execute transactions. SPREA has dedicated teams in key regions, including Spain, the US, Portugal, Mexico and Brazil.
This strategic positioning allows the bank to tap into cross-border investment flows between the continents on which it operates. In 2022 alone, SPREA enjoyed 20% YoY growth in net revenue while overseeing €321 million (about $343 million) in total transaction value, underscoring its success in serving UHNW clients’ real estate investment needs. —ES
Best Private Bank In Emerging Markets: Emirates NBD
Emirates NBD is becoming more and more of a global bank. The Dubai-based bank has developed a strong network in emerging markets from Africa to Asia, with a presence in Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain, Russia, Singapore, Indonesia and China.
In 2022, the bank opened two additional branches in India to complement its Mumbai offices. It also expanded its network in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest market, with a booking center and 13 branches.
In these countries, Emirates NBD offers first-class private banking services but is also leveraging its ability to act as a bridge institution facilitating wealth transfers and providing investment solutions to large expatriate communities from the Global South.
Adapting to youth and new technologies, Emirates NBD also operates Liv, a digital bank, and just launched ENBD X, a new mobile app with an embedded digital wealth platform that allows clients to access over 11,000 global and regional equities with just a click. —Chloe Domat
Jennifer Lee, Head of US Markets
Best Private Bank For New Customer Segments: PNC Private Bank
While other US regional banks endured a challenging year, Pittsburgh-based PNC Private Bank saw an opportunity to invest in new customer segments, capture market share, improve its offerings, and expand its customer base. PNC increased from five to seven the number of US regions in which it operates, each now led by a designated regional leader, expanding the bank’s new-client sourcing.
The initial success of this strategy is reflected in the bank’s excellent financial performance, which underscored the resilience of its balance sheet. Notably, the Federal Reserve’s annual stress test reaffirmed PNC’s financial strength and stability across economic cycles even while other banks faced difficulties.
As its rivals stuck to the basics, PNC focused on environmental responsibility and economic empowerment through private bank inclusion, committing more than $1 billion to bolstering African American–owned businesses in underprivileged communities and comprehensive sustainable investment offerings. —TM
Best Private Bank Or Wealth Manager For Net Worth Under $1 Million: ING
The Netherlands’ leading bank, which has long provided bespoke private banking-style services to its wealthier clients, recently lowered its entry threshold to €500,000. Given that this is by far the fastest-growing segment of the private banking market, the move has yielded healthy growth in a challenging year.
ING’s new cutoff point is part of a broader strategy of guiding existing clients into more value-added services. The bank currently fields a team of 450 advisers and investment specialists furnishing a full range of discretionary, advisory, and execution-only services to the rapidly expanding clientele.
The bank differentiates between clients, says Katja Kok, head of Private Banking and Wealth Management, Netherlands. The advice on financial planning and asset management needed by an individual with €5 million in assets is “perhaps even more relevant for someone with an invested capital of €500,000,” she says. —JG
Best Private Bank For Net Worth Between $1 Million And $24.9 Million: Bradesco Global Private Bank
Bradesco Global Private Bank is working to grow its HNW and UHNW client base by focusing on the midmarket. To appeal to prospective customers with a net worth ranging from $1 million to $24 million, the bank is increasing its international offering, promoting better services for multinational Latin American fortunes.
Since 2020, that strategy has including acquiring other providers, including the Brazilian private banking operations of JP Morgan and BNP Paribas, further cementing its position with the country’s inbound transnational wealth.
It is also pushing into US market, building on its 2020 acquisition of Coral Gables–based BAC Florida Bank. Bradesco aims to bridge the gap for US-based Latin American customers in search of a trusted brand to manage their transnational fortunes. —ES
Best Private Bank For Net Worth Of $25 Million Or More: Citi Private Bank
Catering to one in four of the world’s billionaires—nearly 15,000 HNW and UHNW clients in over 130 countries, and more than 1,700 family offices—Citi Private Bank’s strong position helped it weather the year’s challenging conditions, including higher interest rates and geopolitical tensions.
As a division of Citi Global Wealth, Citi Private Bank maintains clear strategic priorities, focusing on the high end of the UHNWI market and clients whose net worth exceeds $25 million. That concentration helped the bank to achieve robust client growth in 2023, adding over 900 new clients representing a 21% increase over the previous year, a new record for the bank. The average net worth of Citi newcomers rose as well, by 12% to $450 million. That growth spurt gives Citi Private Bank a total of $461 billion in client assets, an 11% increase from 2022. Despite the adverse market environment, total revenue remained steady. —TM