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Asia Private Banking Awards

Best domestic private bank in the Philippines 2021

BDO Private Bank

Albert Yeo, BDO Private Bank.jpg
Albert Yeo, BDO Private Bank

There are many reasons why BDO Private Bank is once again Asiamoney’s best domestic private bank in the Philippines, but key is its innate ability to read the market well and stay ahead of the curve when facing tough times.

In July 2020, BDO Private Bank president Albert Yeo had one important piece of advice for his bank’s relationship managers: put more focus on estate planning services during the pandemic. Naturally, some clients were worried about leaving their businesses and wealth in good shape if anything unfortunate were to happen to them. To cater to their needs, BDO Private Bank started offering personal management trust services in addition to its usual investment management offerings.

This required a bit of a rejig of the bank’s team. BDO Private Bank had eight trust advisers, but moved six of them back to the field to become relationship managers. The relationship managers liaise fairly frequently with trust lawyers to better understand how to approach this part of the business. BDO Private Bank has 41 relationship managers in total, as well as 20 junior relationship managers and three wealth advisers.

That early change of focus paid off. Trusts under management rose 41% to P504 billion ($10.5 billion) last year, while profitability increased 14.6%. Overall assets under management jumped to P601 billion last year, from P452 billion in 2019.

The turnaround is all the more impressive given that the bank traces its roots back less than 20 years to when BDO acquired Banco Santander Philippines in 2003, and renamed it BDO Private Bank to focus on the wealth management industry. As of the end of February 2021, BOD Private Bank had more than 8,500 clients with average client AUM of P49 million. Clients need an entry level relationship balance of P10 million.

Yeo is targeting a modest AUM growth of 12% this year and wants to add more relationship managers to the team. The bank, which has had a representative office in Singapore since 2013, hopes to get approval for an upgraded licence by the end of the year, which will allow it to offer clients an offshore investment account.

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