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Deutsche Bank targets Asia, Middle East for wealth ambitions

Bloomberg11/22/2022 02:25 PM GMT+08  • 3 min read
Deutsche Bank targets Asia, Middle East for wealth ambitions
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Claudio de Sanctis is targeting markets far from home as Deutsche Bank AG seeks to become Europe’s go-to wealth manager.

The head of international private banking at the German lender plans to “significantly invest” in the Middle East and Southeast Asia to tap an expansion of wealth and flow of funds to the regions. De Sanctis singled out markets such as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia -- where resource-rich governments are spending heavily -- as key markets for expansion.

“If you look at the next 24 months in terms of strategic growth, the clear focus for the international private bank is Southeast Asia and the Middle East,” the former UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG executive said in an interview in Dubai. These regions “are enjoying strong tailwinds for wealth creation due to a combination of factors including economic reforms, trade flows, and geopolitical considerations.”

Global banks are vying for a greater share of the wealth created in recent years, driving fierce competition for advisers who can bring billions of dollars in client assets. After revamps in the US and Europe, Deutsche Bank is building up its wealth-management services globally as part of its ambitions to become the euro area’s largest private bank. The firm’s international private bank was a bright spot in the third quarter with a 22% rise in revenue.

In the Middle East -- where it focuses on oil-rich markets such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia -- Deutsche Bank joins the likes of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expanding in the region. In Indonesia, a commodity windfall has kept the Asian nation’s budget in surplus for months. Property consultant Knight Frank expects the number of millionaires in both geographies to continue to rise in the coming years.

Deutsche Bank in February poached three bankers from Credit Suisse to cover wealth clients in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy. It also appointed new executives for its coverage of Austria, Africa and family offices in areas including Northern Europe and the UK.

See also: Family offices bypass private equity funds to make bets directly

Elsewhere, the Frankfurt-based firm’s wealth-management unit in Europe, the Middle East and Africa is seeking to bolster the lender’s global share in the high-touch business of serving family offices, the discrete firms that manage the finances of the ultra-wealthy. The division is seeking relationship managers in London and Switzerland.

In Asia-Pacific, it recently tapped Credit Suisse’s Jin Yee Young to head of its international private bank in the region. Chief Financial Officer James von Moltke highlighted Asia wealth management as one of the few areas where revenue momentum was weak in the third quarter.

From a regional hub in Singapore, the bank covers countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines where de Sanctis sees “very, very attractive” business opportunities.

“The real question is: do we then go onshore?” he said. One of “Jin Yee Young’s important mandates will be to evaluate our options of potentially going onshore in Southeast Asian markets like Indonesia and Thailand or up and coming Vietnam.”

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