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UBS beats BofA as top private bank

Swiss bankUBS cemented its lead over Bank of America as the world’s largest private bank and is within striking distance of managing $2 trillion on behalf of the wealthy, according to a study by London-based wealth management consultant Scorpio Partnership. The study found that Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Canada rounded out the top five overall. UBS is nearly two years into a plan to cut back on riskier debt trading activities and put its private banking arm at the heart of its strategy, a move it says will drive returns for shareholders. UBS displaced Bank of America in the top spot last year in the annual benchmark after the latter sold its private bank outside the United States to Switzerland’s Julius Baer, which shot up to 12th place in this year’s ranking as a result of the acquisition. Private banks worldwide saw nearly double 2012s growth in assets last year, in part due to favourable securities markets, which added value to existing assets, but also by winning fresh funds. The private banking industry now manages $20.3 trillion in total, up from $18.5 trillion one year ago.

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