Thu, Dec 15, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Citigroup offers wealth management

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Banking on the nation's growing wealth, Citigroup yesterday officially rolled out its private banking service, hoping to help local multi-millionaires manage their increasingly deeper pockets.

"Taiwan's economy is still well positioned at the stage of wealth creation," Samuel Suen (孫志成), global market manager for Taiwan of the Citigroup Private Bank, told a press conference yesterday.

"Taiwan is one of the largest wealth management markets in Asia, and its high net-worth population is expanding in tandem, demanding a more sophisticated range of financial instruments to help meet their wealth management needs," Suen said.

Citigroup Private Bank, one of the leading players in the wealth management sector worldwide, is targeting local premium clients who have at least US$10 million in assets.

ABN AMRO in October launched its private banking business in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, zeroing in on clients with liquid assets of more than US$1 million. BNP Paribas Private Bank also unveiled its wealth management business here during the same month to serve customers with liquid assets of around US$500,000.

Taiwan's wealth-management market is estimated to be worth around US$250 billion -- created by between 80,000 and 100,000 high net-value households. It is the fifth-largest market in the Asia-Pacific plus Middle-Eastern region, after Japan, China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, ABN AMRO said.

Foreign banks such as Citigroup, ABN AMRO and BNP Paribas were attracted by the region's central banks' further liberalization of foreign exchange policies, increased diversity of financial products, as well as Taiwanese clients' rising needs for sophisticated onshore portfolio management, said Victor Chao (趙志平), Citigroup Private Bank's chief officer for Taiwan.

Citigroup Private Bank currently accounts for 2 percent of the segmented wealth-management market with yields worth NT$540 billion worldwide, in which the top 10 players claim only 15 percent of the market, Citigroup said, implying ample room for growth.

The US-based lender said the number of Taiwanese high net-worth investors who possess liquid assets of over US$300,000 is expected to grow to 328,000 by the end of 2008 from 194,200 at the end of 2003, citing Datamonitor's Asian-Pacific wealth management markets' survey released last year.

Meanwhile, the value of these rich people's assets would nearly double to

US$301 billion from US$164 billion, which translates into a compound annual

growth rate of 12.9 percent, the second highest in the region after China

only, according to the survey.

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