Monday, July 21, 2014

Squeezing the Global Private Banks: The World's Wealth Managers as UBS Approaches $2 Trillion AUM

From Barron's Penta:
The 209 largest wealth management firms in the world boosted their assets under management by 19.7% last year, which means they globally lord over $14.9 trillion in what is estimated to be a $20.3 trillion industry. This increase in high-net-worth clients’ assets also allowed the 209 managers to collectively report a 10.9% jump in income last year, considerably better than the 2.3% increase in income ­reported in 2012.

These are the headline figures from Scorpio Partnership, a London-based data cruncher that will release its full Global Private Banking Benchmark 2014 report in just under two weeks. But its knowledgeable and affable managing director, ­Sebastian Dovey, has been compiling this global private bank ranking for 13 years, so I called him up to get an ­advance peek at the big picture.

Dovey says UBS is “a nip”—meaning a couple of months away—from being the first bank in the world to have $2 trillion under management. That’s after the Zurich-based colossus clocked a 15.4% ­increase in assets under management in 2013.

Scandals? What scandals? As the recent shrug over Citigroup’s $7 billion fine for mortgage whoopsies illustrates, it appears that clients and investors alike seem to have lost the moral outrage that had them fuming over skullduggery when the financial crisis was at its worst.

A moment of reflection is called for. UBS’ $2 trillion figure is not just a watershed moment for the wealth-management industry, but also an astounding development, considering that when Dovey started his list 13 years ago, not a single global wealth manager had more than $100 billion in assets under management....MORE