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Asia Private Banking Awards

Best for HNW in Malaysia 2020

Maybank

Maybank secured a coup in the middle of 2019 when it hired Carolyn Leng as its new head of private, wealth management.

Leng, who had run CIMB’s private banking arm for nine years, immediately got to work shaking things up at the bank.

It was a bold step for a bank that is still dwarfed by its local rival. Maybank has about $14 billion of assets under management, roughly half of CIMB’s global AuM, according to sources at Maybank, but Leng has plans to bridge the gap.

Leng has made “huge adjustments” to Maybank, according to a banker at the firm.

Carolyn Leng, Head of Private, Wealth Management, Maybank.jpg
Carolyn Leng, Maybank

She has put an emphasis on building the firm’s credit platform, developing a key part of the offering of any ambitious private bank; rolled out plans to double headcount over the next 12 to 18 months; and encouraged a move to win more ultra-high net-worth clients, moving Maybank away from a historical focus on smaller, retail clients.

Maybank’s minimum asset size for new accounts is RM4 million ($933,112) but it is increasingly aiming for a richer client base. Its strategy for appealing to HNW individuals emphasizes investment advice, discretionary portfolio management and credit.

This is hardly novel but private banks do not need to reinvent the wheel, they only need to make the journey smoother.

Maybank will not supplant CIMB any time soon. HNW individuals tend to have relationships with multiple banks, and Maybank will always have to share the limelight with CIMB and AmBank. But Maybank’s rapid growth plans means it may soon be competing for the top spot.

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