British bank Standard Chartered will consider next year whether it should start an onshore private bank in China, as the second-biggest economy in the world continues to open up, a senior executive said yesterday.
"In 2017, we'll look at it again, see what the market looks like and how are we executing on other priorities and then decide," Ms Anna Marrs, StanChart's global head of commercial and private banking client segments, told the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Singapore.
"Compared with the rest of the world, it's huge, so you can't ignore it. It's just figuring out the right time and the right scale and making sure we're getting our priorities across all centres," she pointed out.
Many global private banks have put Asia at the centre of their growth strategy, hiring thousands of people and tapping new customer segments in a region expected to soon boast more billionaires than the United States.
Chief executive officer Bill Winters said in his presentation last year that Standard Chartered had pinpointed private banking and wealth management as businesses to invest in, adding that he wanted to grow assets under management by US$25 billion (S$34 billion) by 2018.
Ms Marrs said the biggest contributions to that growth would come from Singapore and Hong Kong, but the bank also expects to grow its business in Africa in countries including Nigeria.
Last year, Standard Chartered's wealth management assets grew by 5 per cent to US$69 billion, while its private banking assets under management fell by 2 per cent to US$57 billion, according to the bank's annual filings.
StanChart is targeting 12 per cent to 15 per cent return on equity from its wealth business by the end of 2018, Ms Marrs said.
She also said Standard Chartered would invest US$250 million in a private banking system which would help automate processes in its six key markets.