Best International Bank for the Wealth Management Connect 2023
Standard Chartered is among the go-to banks in the Greater Bay Area. Despite the pandemic, it reported a 14% annual jump in income in 2022, and saw solid momentum in the first quarter of 2023 when China reopened its borders.
Its strategy is simple under Anthony Lin, chief executive for the GBA: focus on promising opportunities, invest with a long-term view on the GBA’s prospects, operate as one Standard Chartered irrespective of where the client is within the GBA, and make the region a core issue for senior management.
This strategy has paid off for StanChart, which wins Asiamoney’s award for the best international bank for the Wealth Management Connect in 2023.
The WMC, launched in September 2021, allows investment in wealth management products within the GBA through a closed-loop system, comprising a northbound connect and a southbound connect.
In the southbound connect, StanChart provides clients with access to deposits in 11 currencies and funds such as bond funds, multi-asset funds and money-market funds.
StanChart claims to rank first for southbound account sign-ups among foreign banks in Shenzhen and fifth among all banks in Shenzhen. It has a 36% market share for southbound connect among Shenzhen foreign banks, and a 20% share across both the north and southbound connects.
Last year, StanChart saw a 50% increase in new client acquisitions for wealth management and a 70% rise in physical walk-ins from new GBA clients. It reported 40% growth month on month in the amount remitted in February 2023 over the southbound WMC scheme.
The rules concerning WMC are fairly restrictive, especially those covering the eligibility of investors. But the bank’s senior leadership thinks the rules will evolve quickly and that it is important to be at the forefront when they do.
To that end, StanChart set up a dedicated central team for GBA in 2022 to explain the WMC scheme to existing investors – and to prepare for future expansion. The WMC team has about 20 people in Hong Kong and mainland China.
StanChart has not shied away from leveraging technology to ramp up its GBA business. Whether it is a digital platform to support e-commerce and new economy firms with cross-border sales and foreign exchange flows, or upgrading supply-chain channels for a better trade experience, StanChart takes the lead.
It spruced up its mobile banking app for individuals last year, making it easier to navigate and to find solutions in a more straightforward and timely manner.
StanChart has said it will invest more than $300 million in China over the next three years, including in the GBA business – a clear indication of its commitment to the market.