BNP Paribas Wealth Management plans to be top 5 in Asia

BNP Paribas Wealth Management, the world's eighth-largest private bank, with €355 billion (S$560 billion) under management, is aiming to be in Asia's top five in three to five years.

Mr Vincent Lecomte, its co-chief executive, said yesterday: "Europe is an important region, but the Asia-Pacific is equally important. It's where we've enjoyed substantial growth for the last four years.

"We have more than doubled our assets (in that time) and we intend to further grow and enhance our leadership in the region by becoming top five." The bank is No. 8 in Asia.

He was speaking at an event to introduce BNP Paribas' newest client experience programme, which includes a new set of 10 solutions for its private banking clients. They include seamless client onboarding and personalised financial advice.

Out of the 10 solutions, five were developed in Singapore, where BNP Paribas Wealth Management has based its information technology teams for the business worldwide.

It was a decision that also cemented its commitment to Asia, said Mr Lecomte. "Our operations in Switzerland and Luxembourg for instance, use the IT platform which is being developed in Singapore.

"This is a strategic choice we made nine or 10 years ago because we knew this market was going to further grow. We are already strong in Europe but we thought Asia should be considered at the same level."

Some 200 staff worked on the latest solutions - out of more than 6,600 BNP Paribas Wealth Management employees - which Mr Lecomte deemed "a significant investment" in this digital journey.

He said the bank clearly has the ability to invest in the business, "which requires a lot of investment in people and technology", and intends to grow it organically even as regional consolidation continues.

The bank also worked with at least 10 fintech firms - valuable partners as BNP Paribas Wealth Management works towards meeting all client demands in an ever-changing landscape, he added.

The bank started working to reinvent its client experience two years ago. The solutions were developed more than a year while BNP Paribas Wealth Management worked closely with selected clients.

Long-time client Aloysius Goh, deputy chief executive of Singapore International Mediation Centre, said it was a good opportunity to contribute to the bank's new digital products. "Besides joining the focus group for this project, there has always been an active dialogue between my relationship manager and me on what I think the bank can do better. Having these new services up is key, but I also think they need to try to integrate them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2017, with the headline 'BNP Paribas Wealth Management plans to be top 5 in Asia'. Subscribe