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The Briefing on Private Banker International 

The latest news, trends and data in PBI

In Data:

Private Banker International 
News in Numbers


Vaduz-based private bank Liechtensteinische Landesbank (LLB) has posted a net profit of CHF123.4m for the year ended 31 December 2019, marking its highest profit in a decade.

This is a 45% surge from the previous year’s figure of CHF85.1m.

The private bank’s operating income was CHF452.7m in 2019, up 13% compared to CHF399.7m in 2018.


Investec has abandoned its plan to offload a 10% stake in its asset management business NinetyOne owing to the hit on stock markets heightened by the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The stake sale offer was part of the listing of NinetyOne.

Investec will now retain a 25% holding in the asset management business, instead of the planned 15%.


Lombard International Group saw assets under administration (AuA) hit €48.4bn ($55.3bn), a record high, in 2019.

This was a 17% increase from the previous year and the rise was attributed to positive net flows and investment performance.

In addition, new business premiums set another record at €5.7bn, 25% higher than in 2018 thanks to highers sales in the US and Europe.


Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) is set to cut 230 people from its headcount across its private bank and advice business in order to cut costs and build profitability.

Extreme pressure on the banking industry along with record-low interest rates are said to be the key factors triggering the downsizing exercise.

However, the adverse effect of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on the economy is also said to have played a major role in the decision.

Top Stories

The Key Moments in PBI This Month

 Budget 2020: set to help individuals or businesses increase their wealth?

The UK 2020 Budget may not look like it will affect the private banking sector heavily, but there are certain factors. Aiding entrepreneurs and investors is sure to add wealth to many in the mass affluent band. This can only be good for the private banking and wealth management sector. Patrick Brusnahan asks the experts for their opinions.

While Entrepreneurs’ Relief limits are controversial, other ways to pass on wealth are being aided, such as through pensions. Inheritance tax was left untouched.

A big announcement was the change of pension relief limits, which have caused many senior doctors to cap their working hours, lifting the level of the tapered annual allowance threshold from £110,000 to £200,000.

Source: Verdict

Standard Life Aberdeen profit tumbles on outflows; warns of turbulent 2020

Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) has posted an adjusted pre-tax profit of £584m for 2019, a 10% decrease from the previous year. The performance in 2019 was hit by £58.4bn in outflows.

Fee based revenue dropped 13% year-on-year to £1.63bn.

Of the total outflows, £41bn was lost as a result of Lloyds Banking Group’s decision to terminate a £109bn asset management contract with SLA.

Banca Generali and Reply launch first edition of the Investment Challenge

Banca Generali and Reply have launched the first edition of the Investment Challenge, which is an online trading competition for European University students. The challenge was founded by Reply and based on the BG Saxo Trader Go platform.

Participants will deepen their understanding of key financial instruments and test their skills through BG Saxo’s online trading platform, BG Saxo Trader Go. The goal is to develop a real investment strategy that will protect an original virtual capital of €1m ($1.138m).

As part of Reply’s Challenges programme, the Investment Challenge was created to foster coding culture and stimulate digital innovation in creativity, cybersecurity and finance.

Source: Verdict

Empower announces $20m in Series A funding

Empower has announced $20m in Series A funding, with participation from investors including, Icon Ventures, Defy Ventures and Nubank founder and CEO David Velez. Existing partners, Sequoia Capital and Initialized Capital, also joined this round.

The mobile banking app company provides a banking experience that combines AI and human coaching to power personal financial solutions, such as, high-yield deposit products, easy budgeting and spend tracking, bill negotiation and subscription management, and personalised recommendations.

This latest financing is followed by the company’s launch of high-interest checking and automated savings accounts at 1.60% APY with no minimums, no overdraft fees and unlimited withdrawals.

Global art sales plunges to $64.1bn in 2019

A report by UBS and Art Basel has revealed a slump in global art sales in 2019, with the US retaining its top spot in this market.

The report polled 1,300 HNW collectors in the US, UK, France, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

According to the study, global art sales dropped 5% year-on-year to $64.1bn in 2019.

LGIM AuM grows to £1.2tn in 2019 as net inflows double

Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) has reported a growth in its assets under management (AuM) aided by a significant rise in inflows.

AuM at LGIM reached £1.19tn in 2019, an 18% increase from £1.01trn in 2018.

This includes £150.5bn in responsible investment strategies explicitly linked to ESG criteria.

Schroders profit slips in 2019 even as AuM surges to £500.2bn

British fund manager Schroders annual results for 2019 showed a decrease in pre-tax profit with investors turning their back on equities.

However, assets under management (AuM) surged supported by a Scottish Widows mandate and the new Schroders Personal Wealth joint venture.

Automation in Action

The latest companies to use AI to streamline their workforce

Pandora Automates 5% of Workforce

Music streaming service and Spotify rival Pandora has announced that it is laying off about 5% of its workforce in a bid to save around $45m a year. Jobs across several departments are being automated, including advertising, marketing and investment, as part of a wider restructuring to the company in a bid to maintain its presence in the streaming market.

Source: TechCrunch

Amazon Restructuring Sees Key Tasks Automated

Online retail giant Amazon has cut hundreds of jobs at its Seattle headquarters as the company reorganises to remove older departments and shift a growing number of tasks onto AI-based software. The company, which is enjoying strong growth, is reportedly restructuring to support future ventures, cutting some operating costs in the process.

Source: Time

Driverless Trucks Replace Oil Sands Jobs

Canada-based Suncor Energy has announced the layoff of several hundred workers as the company introduces autonomous haul trucks into its Alberta-based oil sands operations. The layoffs, which have prompted strong reactions from unions, are likely to be only the start, with Suncor planning to build a fleet of over 150 driverless trucks over the next six years. 

Source: Global News

India Sees IT Layoffs in Tens of Thousands

Once one of the biggest employment sources in the country, India’s IT industry saw layoffs totalling over 56,000 in 2017, and is expecting to see further job cuts in the coming year. The layoffs have been largely due to digitisation and automation, which have dramatically reduced the number of workers required to maintain current operational levels.

Source: Quartz

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