What is Private Banking?
Private Banking is a simple concept that means giving exclusive and personalized financial products and services to High Net Worth Individuals (HNI) clients of a commercial retail bank.
The bespoke products and services offered apparently align with the lifestyles of these HNIs, and can efficiently serve their needs.
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What are the services offered by a typical Private Bank?
The services offered by a typical Private Bank go beyond traditional banking products and services to include (but not limited to):
- Tax management
- Estate management
- Investment advisory services
- Wealth management
- Document management
- Lifestyle advisory
- Providing meeting and conference facilities
- Lounge and hospitality services, and so on.
The concept of Private Banking is aimed at EXCLUSIVITY and PERSONALIZATION.
Private Banking Industry in Nigeria
Seeing how diverse the Nigerian economy is, Nigerian Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) are once again, in this space, demonstrating that they are innovative in their business. Most Nigerian banks have carefully carved out some of their clientele using a high-quality profiling system and offered them a pure bespoke and convenient banking experience.
Carefully sited in high brow areas of the top commercial cities across Nigeria for the obvious reason of proximity to their high net worth clientele, these banks have successfully discovered how to get the best out of their HNI customers – whom they often refer to as CLIENTS. You will mostly find ‘lounges of the best private banking in Nigeria in places like:
- Lagos (Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, etc)
- Abuja (Asokoro, Wuse, Maitama, Garki, Gwarimpa, etc)
- Port Harcourt (Old GRA, New GRA, Woji, etc)
Usually, the Private Banking buildings of Nigerian banks don’t look anything like banks. Most times, just a few signages to, at least, show that there is a bank here. Not every customer, even of that bank, can gain entry into these buildings. Their existence, products, and services are reserved for dignitaries and extremely affluent personalities.
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‘The Banker’ Awards, which is dedicated to acknowledging the best banks in different sectors, rewards Private Banks worldwide with accolades yearly to recognise their contribution to the industry.
This article will now look at the last seven (7) years of this award in Nigeria where Standard Bank Wealth and Investment had performed impressively to take the top spot FIVE (5) times. It is safe to say that Standard Bank Wealth and Investment is the Best Private Bank in Nigeria in recent times.
The other two years, however, saw FirstBank Private Banking and Fidelity Private Banking as top performers.
Below are the stories behind the best private banking in Nigeria performances in the years they won and how they have managed to shape customer satisfaction in the banking industry over time.
The Banker’s Best Private Bank Awardees (2014 – 2020)
2020 – Standard Bank Wealth and Investment
A quintuplet of The Banker’s best private bank in Nigeria in a row is beyond impressive. The geographic reach of Standard Bank Wealth and Investment includes Africa and Europe. They have offices in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Mauritius, Uganda, London, and New Jersey.
The bank provided clients with effective and customized solutions to their on- and offshore financial planning requirements. These encompass a wide range of investment instruments, ranging from execution-only securities to managed futures contracts.
Busola Jejelowo, head, wealth and investment stated that with the bank’s online and investments app – My360, “Clients can track and access asset, liability and risk cover regardless of the institution, geography, or the insurer where accounts reside”. “We have a few more digital innovations in the pipeline which we look forward to rolling out soon.”
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In response to the Covid-19 crisis, and at the commencement of the government-led lockdowns, the bank implemented a slew of relief measures for both retail and business clients to aid in lessening the pandemic’s effects. “We maintain open lines of communication with our clients and stand ready to assist where necessary,” she added.
2019 – Standard Bank Wealth and Investment
As the demands of their clientele change, the bank had focused on shifting from a product-led to an insight-led approach to boost client confidence and loyalty. Its ‘Challenger’ model personalized sales messages helped the clients in real-life financial decision-making.
Standard Bank commissioned a study to obtain insight into Africa’s wealthiest people to better understand its clientele. The report’s key themes include: that Africa’s wealthy accrue and spend their wealth in unique ways, and enjoy personalized, bespoke wealth management experiences; that only a slew of societal factors concern Africa’s superrich.
Most importantly, it was also established that securing their wealth is vitally important; and that philanthropy is viewed in the context of ‘giving back’ to the people.
2018 – Standard Bank Wealth and Investment
As the need for bespoke wealth planning became more and more crucial in Nigeria, Standard Bank Wealth and Investment rose taller and taller to the occasion. Although noting the heightened risks, they were still going strong in providing efficient services to their clientele.
One aspect was that a good proportion of the wealth was held by Muslim families, who often wanted to invest according to Islamic principles. The wealth manager offered a Sharia portfolio, which had two layers: a quantitative analysis of the permissibility of the investment, and a quantitative financial ratio analysis. This changed the game. “The development of Islamic banking solutions is on the rise in many countries in Africa, including South Africa, and we continue to expand our offerings in this space,” said the wealth manager.
Although the majority of Standard Bank Wealth and Investment’s assets under management are in South Africa and Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana were seeing the fastest client growth at the time.
2017 – Standard Bank Wealth and Investment
The bank’s emphasis on intergenerational wealth transfer led to the establishment of Leadership Academies, which provided financial education to the clients’ children. After holding many academies in Africa, the Women’s Wealth Academy opened in London in 2016.
On Women’s Wealth Academy, according to the bank, the goal is to educate women on “investing, establishing a financially sound family, and philanthropy.”
The wealth and investment unit, which managed approximately $11.8 billion in private client assets globally, hosted ‘exclusive’ events throughout Africa, allowing private bankers to interact with clients with the goal of “supporting and caring for their lifestyle aspirations and dreams,” according to the bank. This was how they signed-on more quality clients.
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The bank’s recruitment process was also mostly in-house and home-grown. The bank placed a high value on developing wealth managers from within through training, which aided in meeting the difficulty of finding “the proper quality” wealth managers to serve clients, particularly in Kenya.
2016 – Standard Bank Wealth and Investment
“Africa is our home, we drive her growth,” said Deon de Klerk, head of Africa and International at Standard Bank Wealth and investment when taking this award.
Its combined onshore and offshore strategy is also regarded as a fundamental strength, with an offshore fiduciary, investment, and banking capabilities regarded as a distinct distinction in both markets.
Banking products generated the vast bulk of the bank’s revenue in both markets.
2015 – First Bank Private Banking
FirstBank’s customers were from all walks of life, from all around the country. The Lagos hub was responsible for the south-west, Abuja for the north, and Port Harcourt for the south-east. FirstBank Private Banking had the country in their reins.
2015 was a tough year, financially. Anyone who had done business in Nigeria in the past one and a half years had been scarred in some way by the country’s volatile political climate, but FirstBank Private Banking took precautionary measures to preserve their clients’ assets.
The bank is still trying to expand its client base to other countries.
2014 – Fidelity Private Banking
Carefully located in the heart of Ikoyi, Fidelity Private Banking is well posited to be the best. Fidelity’s private banking division was meticulous in its client selection process. In fact, it only catered to clients with at least $250,000 of investable wealth.
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Earlier in the year, the division’s assets increased by more than 30% to N27bn ($163.3m at that time), which may be considered an impressive average amount for any private banking institution in the country.
In 2013, the bank invested in electronic banking products to improve customer experience. This improved performance, as well as, boosted their client base through referrals.
According to Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, the then-MD, these initiatives had a good impact on revenue and profit on the Private Banking Division. Definitely the best private banking division in Nigeria in 2014.