Best for investment research in Malaysia 2020
CIMB Private Banking
CIMB Private Banking is the biggest and best private bank in Malaysia. Its $11.5 billion in assets under management in the domestic market at the end of 2019 was equivalent to what Maybank, a close rival, boasts globally. And despite being the incumbent, it is also achieving impressive growth.
The firm’s domestic AuM increased 21% in 2019, while its revenues rose 9%. The boost in revenues largely came from a rise in fees from loans and trading, reflecting the success of the bank’s attempt to drive more fee income.
CIMB has about 80 relationship managers in Malaysia, but they are supported by 16 investment specialists, a key plank in the firm’s strategy to offer best-in-class investment advice to its clients. These investment consultants are an important driver of clients with $5 million or more assets at the firm, allowing CIMB to give these clients customised investment advice that considers risk tolerance, particularly their hunger for leverage.
The bank has also made a push for millennials. CIMB’s AuM from millennials grew 124% in 2019, partly because they have been able to connect the dots between private, corporate and investment banking.
This is particularly important for the younger generation, who are still hungry for deals and, in some cases, are likely itching to take over businesses from patriarchs and matriarchs.
The ability to leverage the strength of the corporate and investment bank is, in fact, part of the wider strategy at CIMB Private Banking. Under chief executive of group wholesale banking, Shahnaz Jammal, the bank has developed relationships with most large corporations in Malaysia, ensuring that the very biggest clients are well covered.
But the corporate and commercial banking units have also put more emphasis over the last few years on small and medium-sized enterprises, creating another source of growth for their private banking colleagues.
CIMB’s wealth transfer business is unparalleled in Malaysia. The firm’s ability to structure trusts is not just limited to its biggest clients: its ‘trust wrapper’ allows easy access to a trust for both assets and insurance policies for clients who are either not ready or not willing to go through the work needed to create a bespoke trust structure.
Malaysian banks face more hurdles than others when creating trusts, since shariah law places extra restrictions on how such entities are structured. But ties with CIMB Islamic mean that CIMB Private Bank has little problem offering the full range of services to its Muslim clients.
Perhaps the best indication of the bank’s dominance comes from a rival, during a meeting to pitch his own bank’s credentials: “CIMB is the clear leader at the moment,” he tells Asiamoney. There’s no better recommendation than that.