Tidjane Thiam Eyes Bigger China Share

Tidjane Thiam

Tidjane Thiam

At the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference, the CEO of Switzerland’s second largest bank has expressed his desire to build the bank’s wealth management business in mainland China.  

A report from news agency «Reuters» said Thiam was not concerned by the slower economic growth in China. Describing it as a natural development as the country transforms itself into a consumption-driven economy.

«We have been underweight China and will continue to invest,» said Thiam, who joined the bank in July 2015.

Tidjane Thiam's pivot to Asia was made clear earlier this year. The recruitment of relationship managers across the bank’s Asian locations is now an important priority for CEO Thiam. Recruiting was stepped up in 2015 leading to a net increase of 70. This currently gives the bank 590 relationship managers in Asia.

The goal for the bank is to have approximately 800 relationship managers across APAC by year-end 2018. The CEO also said that a strong pipeline of potential new hires was in place.

Staying in China

Other global private banks are also pushing hard to increase their wealth offerings in China, UBS recently announced a larger presence in Shanghai. However the heavily regulated and controlled market is not an easy one to penetrate. Zurich headquartered Credit Suisse does not have an onshore licence to operate its wealth management business in China, but is said to be studying acquiring one.

Thiam said he would be spending five days in China as part of his current Asia trip, meeting clients and seeking to develop his understanding of their needs.

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