Editor’s Letter

Ways to woo wealth

How do private banks attract their wealthiest clients? As marketing budgets go online, and expenses are trimmed, many in the industry feel like the luring of wealth is changing.

With the next generation getting wealthier, marketing is following the millennial. UBS recently trailed sponsored stories on Instagram, but it is far from the only wealth manager spending big on social media. Others, such as HSBC, have run pop-ups or collaborations – both millennial gimmicks.

But the big budgets in the industry still to towards hiring the best, as recent news has shown: Nearly 50 members of First Republic’s wealth management division walked out of the firm in June, following the five top advisors on their team who had already left. Between them, these employees were responsible for managing most of the $17 billion of client assets at the bank.

Losing such teams, as hiring them, means missing or winning the wealthy clients with whom those teams have relations.

While First Republic’s team scattered, taking up positions with a number of Registered Investment Advisors, most major moves are between large financial firms.

In the first two weeks of June alone, a team from Merrill Lynch joined Sanctuary Wealth in California and then two senior private bankers from Credit Suisse joined Deutsche Bank.

But the private banking world was reminded of the biggest rivalry in recruitment when Sanjeev Premchand walked out of Julius Baer after 15 years with the Swiss bank, to join its Swiss rival, Pictet.

The Julius Baer/Pictet rivalry all started last year when the former’s CEO unexpectedly jumped ship to the latter, sending shock waves throughout the industry. To make matters worse, in his new role as partner of Pictet, Boris Francesco has been hiring many of his former colleagues from Julius Baer.

Whether hires such as these boost profits at a bank is ambiguous. But a closer look at any balance sheet could probably verify a link between individual hires and assets booked. HSBC and others are certainly betting on it: The British bank has recently announced a slew of hires in its Asia offices to bank more of the region’s UHNWIs. This and other recruiting rational are explained in this edition’s feature on banking hires.

Though hiring spend remains strong, marketing budgets are not letting up either. As summer comes to private banks’ heartlands in Europe and North America, there are summer sporting sponsorships to be sought. These events attract collective billions in private wealth, making them fitting backdrops to private banking branding, as Jamie Crawley explores in this edition’s feature on sponsorships

As more banks and wealth managers race to attract an ever-expanding pool of customers, all tactics for client acquisitions will be battled out. As with many things in private banking, most will opt for a ‘hybrid’ of the modern and old ways of wooing wealth.

Oliver Williams

Editor, Private Banker International