Asia's wealthy lured to Thailand banks
By Sucheera Pinijparakarn, The Nation/Asia News NetworkBANGKOK -- Competition in the private-banking sector is likely to heat up as banks launch strategies to retain wealthy customers and attract the newly rich.
February 5, 2013, 12:41 am TWN
As global growth has been shifting from Europe and North America to Asia, the number of wealthy Asians has been rising. Of 11 million high-net-worth individuals, defined as those with assets under management of more than US$1 million (30 million baht), 3.37 million are in Asia, against 3.35 million in the United States. In Thailand, the number is estimated at 50,000. For Thai commercial banks, success in winning over these customers means success in expanding banking services in the coming years.
Weidt Nuchjalearn, senior executive vice president of Krungthai Bank, said the number of high-net-worth clients in Thailand had been rising every year and their banks must assure them that their wealth will remain intact even in fragile economic conditions.
The high-income segment is unlike general depositors. These people have more choices for investments to build their wealth, so bank staff must be financial advisers. Relationship managers and a synergy of financial subsidiaries in KTB will strengthen wealth creation for this segment, Weidt said.
“Our goal is to maximize their satisfaction in terms of return from assets allocation and privilege services,” he said.
Kasikornbank is targeting individuals with net worth of at least 10 million baht, who control 70 percent of total deposits in the banking system, said Krisada Lamsam, senior executive vice president. The bank calls this segment “The Wisdom.”
Demand from these individuals for special care will only rise, said Lalitphat Toranavikrai, head of private banking at Siam Commercial Bank (SCB). One factor is the lowering of the Deposit Protection Agency's insurance limit. Currently guaranteeing deposits of 50 million baht per person per bank, the agency will soon lower the limit to 1 million baht. This will require the wealthy to make better plans for their assets.