(Updates with UBS comment in fifth paragraph.)
Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest lender, became Asia-Pacific’s biggest private bank by assets in 2012, regaining the top ranking it ceded to Citigroup Inc. the previous year in a study by Private Banker International.
UBS increased the assets it manages in the region by 20 percent to $215 billion, compared with a 9 percent gain for Citigroup, which ended last year with $210 billion, according to a study of the top 20 Asia-Pacific wealth managers released today by Private Banker, a London-based publication on the global wealth industry.
The Zurich-based lender is shrinking riskier and capital- intensive businesses such as bond trading to concentrate on wealth management as part of a strategy outlined by Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti last year. UBS was ranked as the largest global private bank with $1.7 trillion of assets in a separate study by Scorpio Partnership in July.
Private Banker’s latest rankings “have shown the strength of the big global brands in attracting assets and particularly the resurgence of UBS after a couple of torrid years,” said Nicholas Moody, who led the Asia-Pacific study for the firm.
UBS added more than 100 client advisers to its team in the region since the start of the year, helping the bank increase its market share, Kathryn Shih, CEO of the lender’s Asia Pacific wealth-management unit, wrote in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News. The business has more than 1,000 advisers in the region, Shih said.
Godwin Chellam, a Hong Kong-based Citigroup spokesman, declined to comment in an e-mail.
Credit Suisse Group AG replaced HSBC Holdings Plc as Asia- Pacific’s third-largest private bank as its boosted its assets by 31 percent to $117 billion in 2012, according to the Private Banker report.
HSBC’s assets declined at least 11 percent to between $100 billion and $115 billion, according to data compiled by Private Banker from sources at the London-based lender. Credit Suisse acquired HSBC’s private banking unit in Japan in December 2011 for an undisclosed sum.
Julius Baer Group Ltd., the Swiss wealth manager established in 1890, improved its ranking in Private Banker’s study to sixth last year from 11th in 2011 after it bought businesses from Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch.
Baer agreed in August 2012 to purchase Merrill’s wealth management units outside the U.S. for about 860 million Swiss francs ($944 million). The Zurich-based bank had $60 billion of Asia-Pacific assets, double its 2011 total.
“Julius Baer is the one to watch in the coming 12 months,” said Private Banker’s Moody. His firm forecasts Baer’s assets could rise to about $100 billion in the region once the integration of Merrill’s units is complete, which may allow it to displace JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the fifth-largest Asian private bank.
Total wealth managed by the top 20 banks increased 16 percent to $1.17 trillion, today’s report showed. Global wealth management assets rose 8.7 percent to $18.5 trillion last year, helped by a 24 percent increase in net new money and market gains, according to the Scorpio report in July.
Asia-Pacific rankings by Private Banker International:
Rank Firm AUM ($bln) AUM ($bln)
2012 2012 2011
1 UBS AG 215 179
2 Citigroup Inc. 210 193
3 Credit Suisse Group AG 117 89
4 HSBC Holdings Plc 100-115 129
5 JPMorgan Chase & Co. 60-75 53-68
6 Julius Baer Group Ltd. 60 30
7 Morgan Stanley 58 20
8 Deutsche Bank AG 50 43
9 DBS Group Holdings Ltd. 46 39
10 Bank of Singapore Ltd. 43 32
11 BNP Paribas SA 43 40
12 Standard Chartered Plc 35 35
13 Barclays Plc 30 25
14 Pictet & Cie 20-30 19
15 EFG International AG 16 14
16 ABN Amro Group NV 15 14
17 J. Safra Sarasin Holding AG 15 15
18 Societe Generale SA 15 13
19 Coutts & Co. 14 15
20 United Overseas Bank Ltd. 11-15 11
--Editors: Darren Boey, Russell Ward