Company Profiles

BNP Paribas' Wealth Arm Gains Ground With Entrepreneurs, Families – Senior Executives

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 20 June 2022

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Entrepreneurs and families make up about 40 per cent of its AuM in the overall wealth business and are growing parts of its total business, a senior figure at the Paris-based firm said.

This news service interviewed Pierre Ramadier, who has been in the post of global head of entrepreneurs and families at BNP Paribas Wealth Management since December 2020. We delved into the details of  intergenerational wealth transfer, family businesses and wealth dynamics. As one of the largest European banks, with strong connections to regions such as Asia, this Paris-listed firm is in an interesting position to comment. 

How has your time in this job been so far? 
It was an unusual challenge to take on such a global job in a context of the Covid pandemic and lock-downs. My team is in many countries, so I had to grasp this new perimeter and meet my colleagues in remote working, without even getting out of my living room … which was definitely peculiar. But at the same time, this specific environment has also enabled us to strengthen our contacts and links with our customers through the acceleration of digital processes.

Thanks to our digital maturity, we were able to accelerate the deployment of new digital features such as “Voice of Wealth,” webinars, videos, chat and more. The Covid crisis has also demonstrated the resilience of our model and platform to surmount challenges such as market shock, strong volatility, travel restrictions etc. We now have a robust model and we will continue to invest in our platforms and people.

What sort of clients does your area of business cover? Do you have a particular segmentation model and if so, could you describe it?
We are strengthening our support to large entrepreneurs and families clients across all our geographies, drawing on the strengths of BNP Paribas' distinctive, diversified and integrated model, so that this clientele can fully benefit from synergies with CIB, asset management and real estate in particular.

Just to name a few of our latest developments:
-- In Germany for example, we accompany entrepreneurs from the Mittelstand to develop their wealth and businesses, building on the strengths of the group’s local presence; and
-- We have the same approach in the Netherlands. In 2019, we increased our positioning in this country to better support entrepreneurs from Northern Europe by leveraging our international footprint. This new team, based in Amsterdam, allows us to strengthen proximity to customers. Clients can therefore access an enriched offering – particularly in private equity, mandated management and financing – and benefit from the group's expertise in corporate and investment banking and real estate.

When working with families/owners, what sort of client coverage ratio, in approximate terms, does BNP Paribas have for its advisors? Is this an area where an advisor can only realistically look after a relatively small number of clients?
We develop a very close relationship with each of our clients, which requires proximity and availability. We do not communicate on the number of clients, but we develop a customised approach with each of them, combining our internal expertise – strategic asset allocation, private and alternative investments, sustainable investments, wealth and business transfer, credit, M&A – and the Group’s capabilities – real estate, corporate and investment banking.

In your experience, what are the main forms of help that clients seek from your firm?
Beyond the traditional offering of a private bank, our clients are more and more interested in advice on specific solutions to diversify their portfolio such as private equity, M&A and credit. We are able to support our clients with different types of investments and this is a very distinctive element compared with more specialised players. A trend that is predictable and has been rapidly growing for the past few years is sustainable investment. The resilience and financial performance of sustainable investments combined with the collective consideration of the climate challenges ahead have heightened entrepreneurs’ interest in sustainable investing.

Today, 60 per cent of them hold sustainable investments in their portfolios; an increase of 25 per cent compared with 2019. Within BNP Paribas Wealth Management, our ESG approach is based on a comprehensive customer journey, from the needs identification phase to the solution and reporting phase, fully integrating digital. 

To support this approach, we have developed a very robust set-up to accompany our clients in their sustainable journey: a team in Paris and a network of impact coordinators in all our geographies, an internal methodology measuring the level of sustainability of our entire recommended universe (funds, equities, bonds, ETFs, etc), and MyImpact – a digital tool to help our clients define their 'impact investor' profile based on the 17 SDG of the UN, specific mandatory trainings for all our relationship managers, etc.

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