Overall Best Gold Bank 2020
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
In the decade since it set up its specialized precious metal business in Shanghai, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has become a leader in sales, trading, leasing and other services relating to physical and financial precious metals – particularly gold – for both retail and institutional clients. ICBC was the first bank to win a licence for its precious metals division. Over the last decade, it has grown into a full-service gold bank, offering clients over 500 products across 36 categories. More than 120 million clients have invested in ICBC’s regular gold investment product, which has brought in Rmb4.6 billion ($644 million) of income for the bank.
The bank achieved eye-catching growth in 2019. Under the leadership of Li Baoquan, general manager of the precious metal department, ICBC remained the top transaction-clearing service provider and gold leaser for the Shanghai Gold Exchange. It generated revenues that made up nearly 60% of the total market share of the big four Chinese state-owned banks.
Between 2009 and 2019, it achieved a compound annual growth rate of 75% in precious-metal trading volumes, 27% in transaction value and 49% in its number of clients.
ICBC has the biggest team in the industry, housing 100 staff at its headquarters alone. It also has an impressive network, with nearly 430 offices across 48 countries and regions. That, coupled with its close relationships with 1,500 banks outside China, means the bank is able to serve its domestic and overseas clients in all time zones, offering 24-hour, non-stop trading services.
The bank is a member of the main global exchanges, including the London Bullion Market Association, the New York Mercantile Exchange, the Tokyo Commodity Exchange and the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange.
It has also helped to develop the infrastructure of the domestic market, having been contracted by the Shanghai Gold Exchange to build a physical gold warehouse in the Greater Bay Area last July.
The bank was at the forefront of innovation in 2019. It partnered with the likes of Tencent and the Palace Museum in Beijing, bringing out a number of new physical gold products to the retail market. ICBC also started offering customised services to both individual and corporate clients and was the first to partner with online financial information and services provider Hithink RoyalFlush Information Network.