No Easy Way As Banks Court Asia’s Wealthy

The multimillionaire sputtered into his wine when asked about the quality of his bank’s services. “Are you kidding?” he asked, as he detailed a litany of complaints about hassles and complications likely to be familiar to anyone with a bank account and access to a helpline. But this millionaire is from Asia, and thus belongs to one of the world’s most-courted set of bank customers. If he doesn’t like his current set-up, he has choices. Bank executives around the world are lining up to tell their shareholders they are looking east in search of higher profits.

The case is at first glance a strong one. Last year, Asia’s wealthy — those with at least US$1 million in investable assets, excluding their primary home — overtook those in the US to become the largest group in the world, according to a report by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. Their wealth is growing more quickly too, at 11.4 per cent in 2014 compared with 7.2 per cent globally.

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