Business / Markets

Private banking opportunities draw increased foreign interest

By Wei Tian and Wu Yiyao in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-18 07:21

More foreign financial organizations are eyeing opportunities in China's burgeoning private banking market, taking different approaches to tap into a unique and fast-evolving customer base.

LGT Group, a European private bank that also manages assets for Lichtenstein's royal family, is exploring the market's potential. One marketing technique it's using is to bring the royal family's art collection to Beijing and Shanghai, two of the richest cities in the country.

Private banking opportunities draw increased foreign interest
Private banking opportunities draw increased foreign interest
China has 358 billionaires, ranks 2nd behind US
"The art exhibitions contribute to cultural exchanges between China and Lichtenstein. It's even better if they contribute to the business relationship between the two countries," said Prince Max of Liechtenstein, who is also the group's president.

"More wealthy Chinese families are thinking for the next generations, and they are seeking advice from us about succession planning," he said during a visit to Shanghai. "The engagement of a wealthy family beyond financial activities, such as into philanthropy and cultural activities, is needed to give the family more identity and meaning," he said.

Although many wealthy Chinese are emigrating, the prince said it's not a good idea to copy what others are doing in terms of investing abroad. "If everyone else is buying a property in London, it might be a little late for you to do so."

While the first generation of China's wealthiest eyed fast growth, the second generation is more concerned with preservation and transfer of assets from a risk diversification standpoint, said Vincent Duhamel, head of Asia for Lombard Odier & Cie, a Switzerland-based private bank.

According to a joint report last year by China Merchants Bank Co Ltd and consultancy Bain & Co, "maintaining wealth" has replaced the goal of "increasing wealth" as the top priority for private banking clients, followed by "quality of life" and "children's education".

"The demand from China's wealthy people for private banking is shifting from pure products to more complicated and diversified services," Duhamel said.

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