June 14, 2016 / 9:46 AM / 3 years ago

Deutsche says to expand into high net worth private banking in Asia

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank AG’s Asian wealth management division plans to start a high net worth wealth management business in Hong Kong and Singapore in 12 to 18 months, to capitalize on the growth opportunity opened up by retreating rivals.

Deutsche Bank Asia CEO for Wealth Management Ravi Raju poses for a picture during the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Singapore, June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Raj Narwani

“Competition is coming down in private banking in Asia... I see it as a complete opportunity,” Ravi Raju, Asia-Pacific head of wealth management for the German lender, told the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Singapore.

He defined high net worth clients as having $5 million to $20 million in assets.

The move by Deutsche, which has largely focused on super-rich clients with more than $20 million in assets, comes after JPMorgan Chase & Co scaled back its high net worth business in Asia and let go dozens of bankers.

“If someone has 3-5 percent market share here they are already quite successful players. So the opportunity is so vast,” Raju said.

Asia has seen consolidation in the private banking industry as some Western players withdraw to focus on home markets, while smaller players struggle to compete amid higher technology and regulatory costs.

Raju said Deutsche will initially add 25 relationship managers to launch the business in Hong Kong as it targets wealthy customers in Greater China.

He said the bank’s wealth business in India is being reviewed every six months, but Deutsche will keep the business as long as it is profitable.

“I’m not saying we may not shut it down. We’re still making a good profit out there, cost-income ratio is good, we’re relevant to the customers that we want to be with, there’s no question why we can’t keep the status quo there,” he said.

Raju leads the strategic direction of Deutsche’s wealth business in the region, overseeing more than 700 employees in 15 locations in Asia-Pacific.

Deutsche Wealth Management was ranked eighth in Asia by industry publication Asia Private Banker in its 2015 survey, managing $66 billion in assets. Deutsche did not confirm the number.

Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits

Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Marius Zaharia; Additional reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee and Denny Thomas; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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