First and foremost, it is important to define was is private banking. So, what is private banking in a nutshell?
Private banking is set of services, banking, financial and investment and other services that are provided by private or commercial banks to high-net-worth individuals who enjoy higher levels of income than ordinary citizens.
We call it “private” banking because the service is much more personal if you would compare it to mass-market retail banking. People who do their business in private banks usually have a dedicated personal banker.
What services do private banks provide?
Private banks provide a variety of services such as brokerage, limited tax advice, some concierge services, asset management and much more. Clients that have massive net worth usually take a rather passive approach to their banking and trust their bank advisor.
Now that you know what is private banking, we can talk about some of the top private banking firms.
7 top private banking firms
If you are a millionaire or even a billionaire, you will most likely do your business in a private bank without the need to wait in the line like a common folk.
Why is private banking so much different from traditional, mass retail banking? Well, mostly because of the level of service you get in a private banking firm. Individuals who have high-net-worth tend to have much more complex financial goals.
And when it comes to this kind of people, they do not like to wait, they want only the best. With private banking services, they can fulfill some of their financial goals.
If you look at your local bank, you will most likely see both large and small banks offer special service who consumers who have deep pockets.
Actually, talking about private banking, you might be interested in becoming a personal banker as it is a career that can launch you sky high. Who knows, maybe you will be the next branch manager of your local bank.
Without a further ado, here is the list of 7 top private banking firms. These banks are the largest whales in their industry with assets that reach over trillion of dollars.
Estimated assets under management: $384 billion.
Although Deutsche bank had a rather unfortunate scandal in 2015 in which it was found out the bank was manipulating LIBOR (London inter-bank lending rate) on the open market as well as it had to pay $55 million to settle civil charges allegedly misstating financial reports. In the wake of these events, two top executives, Juergen Fitschen, and Anshu Jain offered their resignation letters.
Since modern banking is very competitive, you have to differentiate somehow from your competition. Deutsche Bank has done it with “doorstep banking” and Global Concierge Assistance.
BNP Paribas Fortis
Estimated assets under management: $395 billion.
BNP Paribas Fortis has their HQ set up in Belgium and they serve exclusively clients with a net worth over €250,000. This private banking institution has offices in Italy, France, Luxembourg, U.S.A. and Asia.
It was even voted as the “Best Private Bank in Europe” in 2014 by PWM/The Banker.
Royal Bank of Canada
Estimated assets under management: $678 billion.
If you do business with Royal Bank of Canada, you can expect a variety of highly personalized services such as estate planning consultations and specialized credit solutions.
Also, if you really want to show off, now you can (if you have the money) with a special credit card that is targeted for the high-net-worth individuals.
Estimated assets under management: $892 billion.
Like many of its competitors, Credit Suisse offers investment advice as well as specialized wealth management services.
Credit Suisse takes pride in their work as they are trying to cater every single need of their upper-income clients. The better you understand your client, the happier he or she will be.
Actually, this bank has opened up a “New Markets” division that focuses heavily on affluent women, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual clients.
Estimated assets under management: $1.472 trillion.
There is not much to be said about this long-standing private bank company as they have been with us for nearly 82 years. Their current HQ is in New York City and their current CEO is James P. Gorman.
This bank has had the fastest growth of any of their competitors as it grew by astonishing 17.5% in 2013. You can visit them here.
Merrill Lynch (Bank of America Corporation)
Estimated assets under management: $1.866.6 trillion.
Merrill Lynch is the largest private bank in the United States and today they are a part of Bank of America as a Merrill Lynch Private Banking & Investment Group. Bank of Amerca (BOA) has purchased them in the first quarter of 2009 just a bit after the financial meltdown in 2007/2008.
Their current HQ is in New York City.
Estimated assets under management: $1.966.9 trillion.
UBS is the largest private banking firm in the world right now as they currently manage almost $2 trillion in assets. This Swiss, long-standing bank has more than just sheer size in assets.
If you take a look at their customer satisfaction, they have one of the highest customer satisfaction among private banking and wealth management firms.
Their HQ is located in Zürich and Basel and current CEO is Sergio Ermotti.
What can we conclude?
Since the last financial meltdown that occurred in 2007/2008 you can see a trend of the booming of highly specialized private banking services over the recent years.
If you and your bank consider yourself a high-net-worth individual and a private banking firm seems the right choice for your needs, go for it.
As always, research potential banks you want to work with carefully as there are always some fees involved. Do not forget to check out the skills of the financial professionals who will manage your money.