Korea's best private bank 2018: KEB Hana Bank
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Korea's best private bank 2018: KEB Hana Bank

KEB Hana Bank

A decade ago, the founders or scions of corporate empires dominated the rich lists. But in recent years, the face of wealth has changed to reflect the successes of a younger generation of entrepreneurs.

Three of the 10 richest people in Korea are self-made, amassing their fortunes in online gaming long before they were 50. In 13th place on Forbes’ 2018 ranking of Korea’s 50 richest people is Kim Beom-su, a 52-year-old entrepreneur worth $2.6 billion who founded Kakao group. The company owns a messaging app installed in 90% of the country’s smartphones that later turned into a digital lender busy disrupting the banking sector. In Asia ex-Japan and ex-Australia, only China boasts more high net-worth individuals than South Korea, according to the latest World Wealth Report from Capgemini.

But are private banks keeping pace with their needs and those of a population that is younger, wealthier and more global in terms of its outlook and aspirations than ever before? Many global lenders, having grappled with the cost and cultural complexity of running an onshore private banking business, opted instead to focus on serving big-ticket corporate and institutional clients.

On the domestic front, two lenders, KEB Hana Bank and Shinhan Bank, stand out from the crowd, offering first-rate private banking services to local clients. And of the two, KEB Hana Bank is a worthy winner of this award. In 1995, it became the first local lender to launch private banking services: since then, it has regularly swept the industry awards.

It has won Euromoney’s ranking for best private bank in Korea four times in a row, consolidating its position with each year that passes. In 2018, it secured top scores in the main categories considered important to affluent Korean clients, including HNW advice and research and asset allocation.

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