Global Wealth Management: Competitive Dynamics

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"Global Wealth Management: Competitive Dynamics", report benchmarks the world’s leading wealth managers by managed client assets and financial performance. It covers the 34 most prominent institutions, including standalone private banks and wealth managers, as well as competitors that are part of larger universal financial groups. All international wealth managers with over $100bn in private client AUM are featured in the report.

At the end of 2016, client assets managed by the world’s top private wealth managers had grown by 6.1% to a record $10.2tn. While a welcome return to growth after 2015’s lackluster performance, the growth was fueled more by higher asset prices and the general appreciation of HNW assets rather than strong net new money. The leading wealth managers are still struggling to grow market share, highlighting the enduring competition from smaller boutiques and family offices.

Specifically the report –
– Ranks the competitors by private clients’ AUM.
– Looks at client assets booked in other than pure wealth management services, including brokerage.
– Analyzes historical growth, as well as perspectives for further development of AUM, both in terms of current asset base expansion and attracting new money.
– Compares the profitability of the covered competitors, examining sources of revenue and the largest components of the cost base.
– Examines how wealth management units folded into larger organizations contribute to the wider business of the competitor in question.


– Private wealth managers are continuing to face difficulties in growing net inflows, highlighting the competition from smaller players in the market.

– Higher costs are resulting in higher assets under management (AUM) thresholds at the private wealth management arms of most competitors, constraining the size of the potential client base but helping maintain margins.

– Many top wealth managers have been prioritizing margins and profits, resulting in de-risking as fines and legal settlements remain one of the major costs incurred by the industry.

Reasons to Buy

– Benchmark your AUM and financial performance against the biggest players in the industry.

– Understand the challenges in growing client assets in different geographies.

– Learn about your competitors’ strategies related to expanding client books.

– Find out how profitable the wealth management business is.

– Identify the industry’s best practices in managing operating costs and boosting revenues.

– Discover how wealth managers’ M&A activity affects their financial performance.

ABN Amro
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
BNP Paribas
BNY Mellon
Bank of China
Bank of Montreal
Charles Schwab
China Merchants Bank
Citi Private Bank
Crédit Agricole
Credit Suisse
Deutsche Bank
EFG Financial
Goldman Sachs
HSBC Private Bank
JP Morgan
Julius Baer
Morgan Stanley
Northern Trust
Royal Bank of Canada
Royal Bank of Scotland
Société Générale
Standard Chartered
US Trust
Wells Fargo

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


1.1. AUM growth has revived, driven by higher HNW assets around the world 1

1.2. Key findings 1

1.3. Critical success factors 1


2.1. Growth in Super league assets accelerated in 2016, riding a market expansion 6

2.1.1. The top wealth managers lost market share in 2016, but saw an uptick in growth 6

2.2. Swiss and US banks continue to dominate the ranks of the top five wealth managers by AUM 7

2.2.1. The stable top five accounted for almost $5.0tn in client assets 7

2.3. The biggest movers among the top wealth managers were mostly growing 10

2.3.1. The few big contractions were the result of disposals by HSBC and Deutsche Bank 10

2.3.2. OCBC acquires yet another European competitor’s Asian private bank 11

2.3.3. DBS has picked up the bulk of ANZ’s Asian assets, adding to its regional network 13

2.3.4. EFG’s acquisition of the distressed BSI has created a potentially strong new pure-play Swiss private wealth brand 13

2.3.5. RBC’s acquisition of City National has cemented its place as a major player in the US 15

2.3.6. Swiss and Asian banks fared the best in 2016, as the US cooled and Europe struggled 16

2.4. The wealth business has not been reshaped significantly…yet 18

2.4.1. Leading wealth managers are still primarily operating in the HNW space 18

2.4.2. Citigold and HSBC Premier boast two of the most established mass affluent investor propositions 20

2.4.3. Up-and-coming Asian wealth managers are alive to the mass affluent potential 21

2.4.4. Many leading wealth managers are strategically investing in fintechs, with robo-advisors shaping up to be a key battleground 22

2.5. Top AUA rankings are primarily a North American affair 24

2.5.1. The importance of the independent financial advisory networks in the US has resulted in their dominance of the AUA rankings 24

2.5.2. Assets under administration rebounded in 2016 after a weak 2015, reflecting a strong close to the equity markets 25

2.6. Net new money to the wealth management elite continued to decline in 2016 26

2.6.1. More than half of the top wealth managers saw a decline in inflows 26

2.6.2. Over half of the net inflows tracked were from UBS and Morgan Stanley alone 27

2.6.3. The CRS will see a shift of inflows from international divisions to domestic operations 29


3.1. Group performance was ok, wealth performance was better 31

3.1.1. Once again wealth divisional profits are holding up better than group 31

3.1.2. Most wealth management divisions reported profits in 2016 33

3.2. The cost-to-revenue ratio declined dramatically in 2016 but there is little expectation that this can hold 34

3.2.1. Improving ratios suggest only modest gains in efficiency at the world’s leading wealth managers 34

3.2.2. Divestment and litigation were key drivers of improving cost ratios 36


4.1. Abbreviations and acronyms 38

4.2. Supplementary data 38

4.3. Methodology 39

4.3.1. Wealth manager competitor data collection 39

4.3.2. Exchange rates 39

4.4. Bibliography 40

4.5. Further reading 40


List of Tables

Table 1: Top wealth managers’ published private clients AUM ($bn), 2015-16 17

Table 2: Private wealth management unit standard minimum thresholds, 2016 19

Table 3: Robo-advisor offerings among selected wealth managers, November 2017 23

Table 4: Top global wealth managers’ AUA ($bn), 2015-16 25

Table 5: Super League wealth managers’ net new money ($bn), 2010-16 29

Table 6: Retail wealth management client asses of selected competitors, 2014-16 ($bn) 38

Table 7: US dollar exchange rates used in Global Wealth Management: Competitive Dynamics 39


List of Figures

Figure 1: The top wealth managers saw a bounce in AUM, almost matching the wider market acceleration 7

Figure 2: Growth was highly uneven among the top private wealth managers but almost entirely reliant on organic drivers 8

Figure 3: Exceptional growth rates were powered by acquisitions rather than organic growth 11

Figure 4: OCBC’s Bank of Singapore has been effective at growing acquired assets, with the Barclays acquisition being of a similar size if not scale to its formative 2009 acquisition 12

Figure 5: BSI’s acquisition brings EFG International’s AUM into the ranks of the top wealth managers, even after attrition 14

Figure 6: RBC now has more client AUM in the US than in its home market of Canada 16

Figure 7: Asian wealth managers typically leverage their massive retail banks, and so have large retail client books 21

Figure 8: OCBC has three programs for investors of varied wealth, capturing the maximum retail wealth possible 22

Figure 9: AUA surged among most of the largest custody operations globally, bouncing back from a poor 2015 24

Figure 10: The trend in net inflows has been depressed in recent years as key competitors have suffered negative publicity 27

Figure 11: Swiss and US banks were the gainers in 2016 28

Figure 12: 11 of the groups tracked saw a change in their group profits of over a fifth 32

Figure 13: Other than pure-play wealth managers, few Super League competitors saw wealth increase its share of group profits 33

Figure 14: Wealth divisions were almost uniformly profitable, but the direction of travel is far more varied 34

Figure 15: Costs to revenue have been declining only grudgingly 35

Figure 16: In aggregate the top wealth managers have not been effective at controlling costs 36

Figure 17: Ratios were steady for most, but exceptional charges caused large shifts among European competitors in particular 37

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