Deutsche Bank harbors big wealth ambitions

FRANKFURT: 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 South-East Asia to tap an expansion of wealth and the 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 South-East 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.”

After revamps in the United States and Europe, Deutsche Bank is building up its wealth management services globally as part of its ambition to become the eurozone’s largest private bank.

The lender’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 United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Deutsche Bank joins the likes of Goldman Sachs Group Inc in 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 United Kingdom.

In Asia-Pacific, it recently tapped Credit Suisse’s Jin Yee Young as 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 asked.

One of Jin Yee Young’s key responsibilities will be to assess options for potentially going onshore in South-East Asian markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and emerging Vietnam. — Bloomberg

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