Best private bank in Monaco

One of the main contributors to the growth of private banking in Monaco has been the arrival of new residents, including members of a colourful Russian expatriate community. “The advantageous fiscal environment, as well as the high level of personal security, continue to make the principality an attractive place to live,” says Sérène El Masri, CEO of Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) Monaco. Despite natural restrictions imposed by a tricky, mountainous terrain, she cites an "impressive number of construction projects” currently under way to address the population growth of this coastal principality. “The Monaco housing market, as well as the French Riviera, also remain very attractive for non-resident investors,” adds Ms El Masri. “Over the past decade, the sector has posted above-average prices compared with other locations, particularly in the top segment, and transaction volumes have remained quite stable during the pandemic.” The combination of these factors has seen the Swiss bank’s Monaco-sourced asset base, growing by double digits in both 2020 and 2021. UBP does not, however, reveal Monaco assets separately from the Swiss total, which is nudging the $120bn mark, following $9.7bn inflows in 2020 alone. Although real estate financing remains the primary financial services requirement of most Mediterranean clients, increasing numbers of wealth individuals serviced by UBP are also looking for discretionary asset management, including access to hedge funds, private equity, private debt and infrastructure investments. “Within the context of the Monaco market specifically, our menu of alternative investments constitutes a real competitive advantage,” says Ms El Masri. “Our club-deal offering is what differentiates us from other banks in the principality.” The bank is also busy convincing clients that their risk-adjusted returns can be further enhanced with the integration of environmental, social and governance criteria and active ownership principles into their investment strategies. Even though 80 per cent of clients now use e-banking services, most have continued to visit UBP’s office, complete with its impressive array of art exhibits, during the pandemic. “You cannot digitalise trust,” has become UBP’s modern-day mantra. YB