Family Office

HSBC Is World's Number One Family Office Business For Third Year Running

Wendy Spires, Deputy Group Editor, 6 August 2013

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HSBC Private Wealth Solutions has been crowned the world's number one family office business for the third year running.

HSBC Private Wealth Solutions has been crowned the world’s number one family office business for the third year running in an annual ranking of the sector by assets under advisement by Bloomberg Markets magazine.

In the 2013 ranking, HSBC Private Wealth Solutions claimed the top spot with $137.3 billion in AuA, derived from 340 client families. Since last year the firm, part of Hong Kong/UK-listed HSBC, has boosted its assets by 11 per cent from $123.6 billion and added to a prior client base of 297 families.

Commenting exclusively to this publication, Anthony Effinger, author of Bloomberg Markets magazine's report on the rankings, put the continued pre-eminence of HSBC down to the explosion in Asia’s high net worth population in recent years and the power of the bank’s brand in the region. “New millionaires and billionaires there appear to be tapping HSBC to handle their fortunes. Few firms have the name-recognition in Asia that HSBC does,” said Effinger. He also pointed to the firm’s relatively low client base (340), meaning that each client has a very significant average wealth of $404 million.

(HSBC, as reported here, issued its interim financial results yesterday.)

In second place for this year - as for last - is Northern Trust, which has £112 billion in AuA from 3,457 clients. Having gained 23 per cent  in AuA (from $90.0 billion) since last year, the Chicago-headquartered firm is the ninth fastest-growing FO business; however Northern Trust is down from 4,101 client families last year, suggesting that the new ones it has taken on are somewhat larger.

Another business which is growing fast is third-placed Bessemer Trust, which is ranked eighth fastest-growing, having advanced its AuA by 25 per cent since last year to reach $77.9 billion, having had $62.4 billion last year. Bessemer, which came in forth place last year, has gained 100 client families and now boasts 2,200.

In fourth place in the 2013 league table is BNY Mellon (last year’s number three), which now has $76 billion in AuA from 400 families. Its assets have grown 18 per cent in the past year (from $64.5 billion), despite the firm losing 24 client families.  

Fifth for this year was Geneva-based Pictet, logging $57.3 billion in AuA, a figure remaining flat from last year. Pictet retains its fifth spot from last year, despite the Swiss firm having fewer than 50 clients.

Just outside the top five, for the second year running, is UBS Global Family Office, which has $47.5 billion in AuA. Its AuA grew by 27 per cent from $37.3 billion last year – making it the fifth fastest-growing family office business, but it should be noted that included within that figure are transfers from within the bank. Data on the number of clients was not available for the Zurich-listed banking giant, which - with $1.71 trillion in total AuM - is the world’s number one wealth management firm, according to Scorpio Partnership’s Global Private Banking Benchmark for 2013. It is also interesting to note that at the end of last month Bloomberg reported that the bank’s chief executive, Sergio Ermotti, has said in a conference call that UBS has “a penetration of one in two billionaires in the world.”

Rounding out the rest of the family office rankings are CTC Consulting/Harris myCFO ($35 billion in AuA from 312 clients; assets up 6 per cent); Wells Fargo-owned Abbet Downing (£32.2 billion in AuA from 594 clients; assets up 5 per cent); US Trust ($31.1 billion in AuA from 162 clients; assets also up 5 per cent); and Wilmington Trust ($24.6 billion in AuA from 436 clients; assets down 23 per cent).

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