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By Faith Hung
TAIPEI, July 5 (Reuters) - UBS (UBS.N) UBSN.VX, the world’s top wealth manager, aims at doubling the size of its Taiwan private banking assets by 2009 as part of its planned expansion in the booming Asian market.
“That’s our ambition,” Dennis Chen, head of Taiwan wealth management, said at a Reuters event in Taipei.
The Swiss bank also aims at boosting its share of Taiwan’s wealth management market, Asia’s third-biggest after Japan and China, to 10 percent by 2015 with US$70 billion in assets under management versus about 1 percent now, Chen said.
He added that UBS currently only has a market share of 10 percent in its home base of Switzerland, while its share in Hong Kong stands at 8 percent.
Taiwan has lured global asset managers, insurance firms and banks like Citigroup (C.N), HSBC (0005.HK) (HSBA.L) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L) as the island’s affluent population shifts its wealth from savings to financial planning accounts.
UBS is determined to expand in Taiwan despite an earlier unsuccessful attempt to purchase a local financial institution.
“Acquisition is absolutely our strategy,” Chen said.
“We asked Standard Chartered and Lone Star [LS.UL] to team up with us ... We also asked some Taiwan financial holding firms to transfer their branch licenses. “But we realised there were many issues involved”, such as the bank was not willing to sell itself, he said.
UBS plans to open more offices in major cities Kaohsiung and Taichung later this year, pending regulatory approval.
AIG (AIG.N), the world’s top insurer, recently said it aimed at managing US$20 billion of client assets in five years after it opens its private banking business on the island in September.
France’s biggest bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) recently opened its second Taiwan unit in Kaohsiung. (For details, click [nTP129139])
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