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This pillar is to recognize private banks who have gone past what the regulations require, and have taken all stakeholders at heart, including their staff, customers, shareholders and the community in general.
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Effective corporate governance at Private Banks is critical to ensuring safety and soundness of financial stability, and their way in which they conduct their business has a direct impact on safeguarding stakeholders’ interest with public interest on a sustainable basis.  This category examines the banks’ governance approaches and how they combat conflict of interests.   The bank must demonstrate to the panel of jurors their following capabilities:

  • Governance Approach: Please describe your philosophy and your corporate governance principles pertaining checks and balances, multi-jurisdictional practices, and the alignment of interests between the majority and minority shareholders
  • Governance of Group and Team Structure: How is the governance framework and whether roles and responsibilities defined across the businesses units (the PB unit) and legal entity structures and whether there is a consistent group corporate governance framework to include adequate policies, processes, and controls across the board?
  • Board Composition and Practices:  How are board members selected and what’re their minimum qualifications?  How are they approved and how are they trained to discharge their duties? What is the composition of the board,  i.e., numbers and ratios pertaining Ownership and control,  Independence board of directors, Chairman and CEO roles separation, Independence of the compensation and audit committee, Percentage of Women on Board, Cross-shareholdings,  Voting rights, Pay performance linkage, etc…?
  • Risk Management Function:  Is there a CRO or equivalent to oversee the development and implementation of the bank’s risk management function, and what are some internal controls policies?  Has the bank been reprimanded or penalized for the misuse/misappropriating of clients’ funds, and how was the situation rectified?
  • Disclosure and Transparency:  How does the corporate governance framework ensure that timely and accurate disclosure is delivered and what is the level of transparency to its shareholders, depositors, and other relevant shareholders, especially for the non-listed banks where disclosure are known to be less. How transparent are fees known to the clients, Please include a most recent periodic financial report at the time of entry
  • Dealing with Conflicts of Interests: What are the challenges the bank faces and how do they deal with them? Are there conflicts-of-interests policies and control governing at the board level and remuneration structure, product issuance by intragroup units/companies, segregation of client assets under management (for example, where the bank also owns a trustee company), sharing of client confidential and sensitive information

Note: A MSCI Intangible Value Assessment report will be pulled on the publicly listed contestants of this category for the jurors’ reference.


Ethics and business conscience are becoming more mainstream for customers when choosing their product providers, especially for millennials who feel they are responsible for the well-being of this planet. Good corporate citizenship goes beyond merely donations or volunteering and looks at the intangible value created by the company by addressing critical environmental issues, human capital issues, and organizational governance issues while making an impact through practical strategies for implementing corporate philanthropic endeavors.  The bank must demonstrate to the panel of jurors their following capabilities:

  • Environmental: What is the bank’s contribution to reducing carbon emissions, product carbon footprint, electronic waste, water stress, electronic waste, and improving energy efficiency and raw material sourcing, and have made an effort to influence the supply chain to do so
  • Social:  Is there a clear policy to ensure employees’ health and safety, financial product safety and quality, human capital development, privacy and data security, and governing the supply chain labor standards and labor management. Has the bank been reprimanded/penalized for violating
  • Governance: Are there clear policies in place for business ethics in avoiding fraud, corruption and instability, ensuring corporate governance is of the highest standards in the board structure and compensation, women’s representation on the board, shareholders’ rights, and ensuring its financial system stability
  • Philanthropy: Has the bank been implementing of impactful projects for the community and humankind in general, using corporate philanthropic strategies and endeavors,  and has the bank been making contributions to support external NGOs on medical research, culture, social and humanitarian causes? Is there a separate team to research and help worthy projects and have been working with the project owners to seeing measurable successes, rather than merely writing a check?


It is the bank’s board of directors to establish an independent compliance function to approve the bank’s policies and processes for identifying, assessing, monitoring and reporting compliance risks, to ensuring the bank operates with integrity, and in compliance with applicable law, regulations and internal policies.  The bank must demonstrate to the panel of jurors their following capabilities:

  • Risk identification:  How are risks identified and what material risks does it encompass under the monitoring?   What quantitative and qualitative measurement is used and how are they associated with the external operating environment? What is the bank’s risk management infrastructure such as the use of technology, data analysis, risk modeling, etc…. to help identify, assess and mitigate risk?
  • Communication: What is the Risk culture like at the bank and how active does the bank promote risk awareness and encourage open dialogue, and even challenges to management? How does risk information flow to the top and what is the risk reporting system? How is the code of ethics communicated to staff at all levels against misconduct including misselling, the violation of national and international rules including AML, anti-terrorism rules, etc…
  • Controlling risks: What systems and controls do the bank have to mitigate risks against economic crime including fraud, breach of sanctions, money laundering, anti-competitive practices, bribery, and corruption, or the violation of consumer rights.  What is the bank doing to mitigate cyber risk, and what is the bank policies and actions on safeguarding the clients’ privacy and confidential data including their assets?
  • Independence: How independent is the compliance function to avoid undue influence from management, and whether dual hatting is allowed?  What is the compliance function’s role in supporting the bank’s corporate values to ensure the bank acts responsibly and fulfills all applicable obligation?


Many banks see risk profiling cumbersome and nothing rewarding work catering for compliance, but having proper risk profiling can be a competitive advantage while satisfying the bank’s fiduciary duties and knowing the clients better, leading to more sticky assets under management.   The bank must demonstrate to the panel of jurors their following capabilities:

  • Differentiation: Does the bank have an unconventional and practical approach to profiling risks for inter-generational families beyond tick boxes? Whether the bank uses psychometrics and other techniques to identify the different personalities for mapping owners of the main and sub-accounts with the risks and return profiles of different asset types, to optimize returns and mitigate unnecessary fear/risks?
  • Model and methodology: What are the questionnaire presented and what is the methodology and model behind the philosophy of these questionnaires? How do they help identify clients’ risk tolerance and aversion to risks? How does the risk assessment approach guide towards the bank’s strategic asset allocation or benchmark oriented products?
  • Ongoing Monitoring: What is being done to track clients’ current financial situation and loss capacity, and is there a system or policies to track their changes to risk experience or even their behavioral perception of risk?  How is the transition being managed in regards to product mapping and switching to cater these changes?  Is the service level the same towards the main and sub-accounts?


It is the utmost responsibility of a private bank to be safeguarding the client’s assets above and beyond the optimization of performance.  This category assesses the bank’s stewardship principles and how they discharge their responsibilities.  The bank must demonstrate to the panel of jurors their following capabilities:

  • Governance: What are the policies governing the potential conflicts of interests between shareholders’ demanding for more shareholder value and being a client-centric bank, which puts clients’ well-being and safety before a product-driven culture?  Are there policies governing single-issuer risks and how are they implemented?
  • Research and Due Diligence: How independent is the bank’s research against products/direct securities offered by an intragroup company? Please specify the due diligence process for on-boarding of long-only funds, hedge funds, and alternative investments, and under what circumstances will these products be struck-off from the shelf?
  • Segregation of Assets:  To what extent is clients segregated from the banks’ assets and what are the policies in place to prevent money from swindling?  What is the structure for custodians and trustees and how independent are they? Has the bank been accused of any misuse of client assets and what was the outcome of such accusation?
  • Transparency: How transparent is the bank with their clients, and how frequent is reporting and whether the report discloses all fees including typically hidden fees and headline fees, and whether the report discloses performances before and after fees charged? What is the extent of disclosure between related companies to prove arms-length transactions?
  • Culture: How does the bank instill the mindset of “clients’ interests first”? What training is given to inculcate such mindset? Have disciplinary actions been taken before on matters relating to client stewardship?
  • Remuneration: How are producers’ performance evaluations and KPIs aligned to driving client interest first? How transparent is this to the producers themselves?


A strong team within a financial organization is a distinct asset to its sustainability and growth.  The success of the policies adopted by the organization of its talent identification, development and retention, and growth within its wealth management services is a significant determinant of its viability, more so in these very challenging yet exciting times.  We are seeking to identify financial organizations who adopt best practice in recruiting, managing and retaining its talent pool.  Financial institutions who adopt progressive employee development and retention policies and recognize the importance of health, safety, and well-being of their employees ( thus cultivating )a healthy workplace, should consider entering this category.  The organization must demonstrate to the panel of jurors their following capabilities:

  • Recruitment & Retention: What is the organization’s philosophy on hiring, and what channels are being used to recruit? Does the organization have the ability to effectively attract talent no plural without going through bulk team acquisition activities? How are the capabilities of the organization’s staff at all levels being challenged to stretch to draw out their best resources What is being done to encourage career longevity and stability?
  • Diversity and Inclusion: What are the policies and best practice adopted by the organization on gender, age, and ethnic diversity? How is the organization’s branding and hence, performance and reputation as a progressive and caring employer perceived by the market, across all levels, from the newly joined to the middle, senior management, and the board level? Does the board have a policy on gender diversity? If so, please evidence it. What is the current gender diversity ratio at board level in the past three years?
  • Engagement: What are the formal employee engagement channels, and professional development, training opportunities and implementing flexible work hours? How does the company empower professional and personal growth through leadership, communication, culture, and corporate social responsibility?
  • Culture: What is the support system and culture adopted by the organization? How are employees incentivized and rewarded for adopting the right qualities of excellent teamwork and brand recognition? Does the organization offer incentives mutually aligned with its long-term interest for growth and development of both the organization and its employees


Private banks are continuously trying to win the talent war and to attract and retain the best to serve its particular requirements and enhance its niche. Training and mentoring are critical considerations for organizations to differentiate their ability to recruit and successfully. This award aims to identify financial institutions who have demonstrated best practices in delivering professional education and training to its team at all levels.  The organization must demonstrate to the panel of jurors their following capabilities:

  • Management Commitment: Who is the primary sponsor of the training and development blueprint of the organization, and how is the Board committed to ensuring excellence in the implementation of this blueprint? How has the implementation of the talent identification and development blueprint demonstrated the strong commitment of the organization to supporting diversity and inclusion? Please evidence this through the organization’s abilities on talent acquisition, retention and low attrition rates.
  • Process: Does the organization’s training, mentoring and coaching programs adopt international best practices for wealth and investment planning and does it integrate well with the business processes.  What are the distinctive key performance indicators, both quantitative/qualitative, to assess and measure results against set goals?
  • The Program: Is the organization recognized for its uniqueness and creativity in developing self -created employee development programmes? If the organization uses a third party provider, how has this proven to be beneficial to the organization? How are the third-party’s programmes integrated into the bank’s overall template for growth and development? Demonstrate how the policies implemented are suitability aligned to the regulations governing the financial services industry to promote high ethical standards within the organization, addressing all levels of staff and management as well as the board of directors.
  • Innovation: How does the organization demonstrate creativity, excellence, and innovation in the design and development of processes or techniques (operational or educational) How does the organization use of information communication technologies to enhance its employee development efforts?
  • Viability and Visibility: Can the organization demonstrate impressive results in addressing human capital capabilities, client segments, market focus and strategic planning based on the success of their hiring and employee development policies?


  • Entry Period: Registration is Closed!
    October 09, 2017 to November 20, 2017
  • Online Submission:
    November 20, 2017 to December 15, 2017
  • The Gatekeepers' Forum:
    March 6, 2018 (Singapore)
  • Announcement of Finalists:
    March 13, 2018
  • Awards Gala Dinner:
    April 27, 2018 (Singapore)


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