Industry Surveys

EXCLUSIVE: Swiss Private Bank Survey Reveals Wide Quality Differences

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, London, 30 September 2013

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The numbers

Three banks were already eliminated at the point when
meetings were being arranged over the telephone. These were Credit Suisse
Private Banking, Citibank Switzerland
and BNP Paribas (Suisse) – Wealth Management. They were not prepared to conduct
a meeting with the investor’s representatives. However, this was a prerequisite
for the test. Another bank – Berenberg Bank (Schweiz) – was eliminated after
the consultation because, by its own admission, this bank lacked experience
with clients from the investor’s home region, the survey authors said.

The 14 banks that received on-site meetings were Schroder
& Co Bank AG; Pictet & Cie (Suisse); Barclays Bank, Zurich Branch
(Suisse); Liechtensteinische Landesbank (Suisse); Morgan Stanley; Bank
Vontobel; Union Bancaire Privée; Rothschild Bank; Deutsche Bank Private Wealth
Management (Suisse); Coutts & Co; Bank Julius Baer; Mirabaud & Cie,
Banquiers Prives; UBS, and LGT Bank (Suisse).  

Schroders achieved an overall score of top out of the 14, as
ranked according to its consultation and investment proposal services. (The
highest possible score was 100, with Schroders at just over 95). This was followed
by Pictet & Cie (Suisse) in second; Barclays Bank, Zurich Branch (Suisse)
in third; Liechtensteinische Landesbank (Suisse) in fourth; Morgan Stanley in fifth;
Bank Vontobel in sixth; Union Bancaire Privée as seventh; Rothschild Bank as eighth;
Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management (Suisse) in ninth; Coutts & Co in tenth;
Bank Julius Baer in eleventh; Mirabaud & Cie, Banquiers Prives, in twelfth;
UBS in thirteenth, and LGT Bank (Suisse) in fourteenth place.  

The survey found that only five banks received unlimited
recommendations. Among the highlights, the survey found, was that the consultation
services provided by Schroder & Co Bank AG were rated as “excellent”, with
those offered by Pictet & Cie, Barclays Bank, Liechtensteinische Landesbank
and Morgan Stanley being “very good”.

Schroders stood out both in terms of its expertise and
through the personalities of the consultants, who were excellently attuned to
the client’s Asian way of thinking, the report said.

The on-site visits came from a couple of Asian origin, who
were seeking advice on behalf of their family on investing $14 million. The
money was to be used for the benefit of the investor’s three children during
their studies in London and New York, as well as for buying a property
and with a portion of the sum to serve as a hidden asset. At the same time, a
number of different services were requested, including help in looking for a
property in London.

Explaining its approach, the report said that "every bank [in the survey] needs to be aware that a client will only approach it once and that the client’s experience will form their opinion of the bank as a whole. Therefore, it all depends on whether the banks set quality standards in their consultation and whether every consultant meets them. We believe that there can be no exceptions when it comes to this type of quality service. The banks themselves are the yardstick used to reach a verdict: the top performance for each criterion in the assessment becomes the benchmark".

The maximum possible number of points in the test for each bank was 100: 70 points for the consultation
and 30 points for the written investment proposal. Six criteria were used for the meeting: the consultants’ expertise, knowledge of the region (in terms of the people), empathy for the client and his objectives, local assistance (range of services in London) and ‘soft’ factors such as the ambience of the
bank and the discretion and friendliness of employees, the report said.

The Private Banking Prüfinstanz has spent more than 10 years
conducting annual assessments of over 100 institutions in the German-speaking
world. In 2011, it also launched what is called the Performance Project. Over a
period of five years, 102 asset managers administer a private banking client’s
account and securities account endowed with €1.5 million ($2.02 million) liquidity.

 

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