Barclays to ramp up private banking business; sets up HK centre
SINGAPORE Nov 24 (Reuters) - Barclays Wealth, a unit of Barclays , outlined an ambitious expansion plan to double the number of private bankers in Asia and quadruple its assets under management in the region over the next four years.
Many private banks including regional players such as Standard Chartered and DBS Group are furiously expanding in Asia, with more wealth likely to be generated in the region powered by the economies of China, India and Indonesia.
Singapore is the main base for private banks seeking to gain market share in Asia, but Hong Kong is fast emerging as a second regional centre as banks expand their regional presence.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Barclays Wealth said it had set up a booking centre in Hong Kong -- its second in Asia after Singapore -- as part of a plan to quadruple Asian assets.
"This is an important milestone for us in Hong Kong... Our North Asian clients now have the additional option of having their assets managed in a location closer to them," said Joanna Chu, head of North Asia for Barclays Wealth. She described Greater China as the fastest and most attractive region for the firm.
She said the Hong Kong booking centre will facilitate the introduction of new yuan-denominated products that the UK lender hopes to roll out next year.
Barclay's declined to say how many relationship managers it had in Asia and did not provide details of Asian assets it manages, but sources familiar with the bank said it had more than 100 relationship managers across the region.
On a global basis, Barclays' private banking unit has 153.5 billion pounds in assets under management and about 1,600 client-facing advisers, a Barclays spokesman said.
This month, Swiss private bank Julius Baer , which already had a centre in Singapore, said it had obtained a banking license in Hong Kong.
Private banks are increasingly poaching relationship managers, bankers who take their clients and their money wherever they go, from rivals. [ID:nSGE6930AW]
Singapore, and to a lesser extent Hong Kong, are drawing boutique funds, advisory firms and brokerages with their light-touch regulation, even as Switzerland gets tougher on bank secrecy. (Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Anshuman Daga)
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