Marcel Kreis of Credit Suisse Private Banking reveals some of his current strategic objectives, including an increasing focus on Greater China, as well as facilitating the growing interest among clients in philanthropy.
Date: May 2011
The bank is not as well-positioned in these markets as it would like to be, he said, explaining that the challenge is to grow organically as effectively as possible – and in a way where the institution can actually absorb the required intake of relationship managers and product specialists.
In addition to organic growth, Kreis said that the firm is open to making an acquisition if it would give it either scale or a skillset it doesn’t currently have.
Looking at the domestic markets, he pointed to the firm’s business in Australia, where it is looking to grow in two main areas. First is tapping more of the ever-growing superannuation investment pool, by seeing where it can adapt its offering to provide the right services to able to attract this money – both in terms of private and corporate superannuation funds, where asset management can play a role.
Secondly, said Kreis, is positioning itself better in terms of the resources sector, and being of greater service to the miners and other people involved in the industry. This means as an investment bank first, and then as a private bank.
According to Kreis, an area where clients in Asia have become increasingly active is in relation to charity and philanthropy.
In line with this, a key part of the value-added service the bank has recently started to provide is creating a foundation in Asia, he explained, in conjunction with the Singapore government, offering certain benefits to clients who set up foundations under Credit Suisse’s SymAsia foundation – where clients can designate the charity which will benefit from their generosity.
If the Singapore government approves these charitable organisations, the client then enjoys tax deductions.
When clients invest money into the foundation, Kreis said the bank is the custodian and can hopefully therefore manage the capital base with a certain view on the potential returns.
However, it is not designed to be a big revenue driver and instead offers a way to provide the type of services and expertise that clients are looking for from the bank, he explained.
The bank also plays a key role when clients look to set up family offices. It helps them with the governance, including the legal structure, with the aim, said Kreis, of advising them on the investment side of their dealings.
For clients who continue to be actively involved in running their businesses, Kreis said the fact that the bank can help these individuals in terms of their corporate banking-related needs – in addition to their private wealth – is a key differentiator which sets Credit Suisse apart from many of the smaller private banks.
At the same time, the global reach and both offshore and onshore services is very hard to duplicate, he added.
Further, the fact that private banking remains a core business for the group means there are a lot of resources available to continuously improve the offering, including the platform, the operational efficiency, and the launch of new products and services.
Being global in focus also means that communication between relationship mangers and clients happens in the clients’ own language, with regard to cultural issues and the local environment where their businesses operate, added Kreis.