Gold to regain glitter, say bankers to the rich

SINGAPORE/GENEVA Mon Oct 3, 2011 12:20pm EDT

Marcel Kreis, head of private banking for Asia-Pacific of Credit Suisse, talks to Reuters during the Wealth Management Summit in Singapore, October 3, 2011. REUTERS/Harry Suhartono

Marcel Kreis, head of private banking for Asia-Pacific of Credit Suisse, talks to Reuters during the Wealth Management Summit in Singapore, October 3, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Harry Suhartono

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SINGAPORE/GENEVA (Reuters) - Wealthy individuals should buy gold as it has become an attractive investment following last month's sharp reversal, private bankers in Asia said on Monday.

"Gold at $2,000 is absolutely, potentially on the uptrack, despite the selloff. That is sort of the immediate target," Marcel Kreis, Credit Suisse's head of private banking for Asia-Pacific, told the Reuters Wealth Management Summit in Singapore.

The $2,000 per ounce level was Credit Suisse's 12-month target, he added.

Gold rose more than 1 percent on Monday as falling equities and lingering worries about a debt crisis in Europe drew investors to the precious metal, which posted its biggest quarterly rise this year.

Spot gold was quoted around $1,655 an ounce around 0840 GMT, up from $1,624 at the start of the Asian day.

Spot gold was up 2 percent at $1,655.19 an ounce at 1350 GMT. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up 2.2 percent to $1,657.40 an ounce.

For the quarter ended September, gold posted a quarterly gain of 8 percent -- its biggest this year, despite a drop of 11 percent last month.

"It's your insurance policy if all hell breaks loose," said Tan Su Shan, head of wealth management at DBS Group, Southeast Asia's biggest lender by assets.

"We did advise caution closer to $1,900 ... but I guess around $1,600 and below would be time to start looking to going back into gold again," she added.

The Singapore bank was, however, more cautious on other commodities given the cyclical downturn in the global economy, she said.

European private bankers were more cautious about Gold than their Asian counterparts, however.

JP Morgan's private banking clients have around 4 percent allocated to gold in balanced portfolios.

"People that had gold before, we recommend they stick to it," said Pablo Garnica, head of the EMEA region at JP Morgan Private Bank.

Enrique Marazuela, Chief Investment Officer at Spanish lender BBVA's private banking arm said he was not recommending clients increase holdings of gold.

The average client allocation has risen to just under 5 percent, from zero before the financial crisis, he said, though the bank is not advising more exposure.

"Where we feel quite comfortable is on financial assets," he said.

(Additional reporting by Cerelia Lim and Chris Vellacott in Geneva; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman; Follow us on twitter.com/reuters_summits)

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