apba2009.gifWestpac, Macquarie, Commonwealth and NAB have shared the honours in the inaugural Australian Private Banking Awards. The industry has also named its best relationship manager, and industry thought leader.

Westpac Private Bank was named Outstanding Private Bank in the $10 million-plus, high-net-worth client segment, and Westpac’s Mark Dietrechsen was named Best Relationship Manager (with more than two years’ experience).

Commonwealth Bank was named Outstanding Private Bank in the $1 million to $10 million high-net-worth client segment.

Macquarie Private Bank’s Stephan Edselius was named Best New Relationship Manager (zero to two years’ experience), and NAB Private Wealth’s Angela Mentis was named Best Private Banking Thought Leader.

The Australian Private Banking Council (APBC) awards were determined by Retail Finance Intelligence (RFI) and based on interviews and surveys of more than 500 high-net-worth individuals.

The findings of RFI’s research were then ratified by an expert panel, which included Geoff Dixon (former managing director of Qantas), Bruce Wetherill (former global leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Private Banking/Wealth Management Practice) and Steve Christie (Associate Professor at Macquarie Applied Finance Centre, a specialist in private wealth management).

In a statement, RFI’s director of research, Alan Shields, said it was notable that the winners were all Australian banks.

“Private banks linked to global investment banks, such as UBS, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch have felt the major brunt of the global meltdown. The two Australian private banks that have benefited most from this are Commonwealth Private and Westpac Private Bank,” Shields said.

“Today, the most important things wealthy Australian individuals want from their private bank are stability – including a high credit rating and visible presence – quality service, investment expertise, strong brand, and frequent contact. They also expect banks to have a thorough understanding of their investment situation and the ability to anticipate future needs.”

RFI said Westpac’s Dietrechsen had “achieved maximum points possible in mystery shopping phase, demonstrating strong empathy and understanding”. His submission to the awards “included impressive detail on how he would deal with a potential client”. RFI said Dietrechsen had a “long and successful career spent in private banking” and was “available to new prospects 24 hours a day”.

Macquarie’s Edselius was “chosen [as] winner or second place by every judge”. He had “by far the greatest experience outside private banking, [having] worked as a diplomat and economic adviser in Europe”, and he “provided extremely impressive detail when presented with [a] mock client scenario”.

NAB’s Mentis “displayed deep understanding of future challenges facing the industry, demonstrated initiative amidst challenging environment and will lead NAB through this period [and] stressed openness and transparency”. RFI said Mentis was “most client centric – focused on relationships and advice model”.

For more information on the wards and the underlying methodology, visit http://www.australianprivatebankingawards.com.au

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