Total assets fell 4.2% last year at Asia’s top private banks, the first drop in three years, according to a report released Wednesday from a Hong Kong-based publisher.


At Asia’s 20 biggest banks assets under management fell 4.2% to $1.47 trillion and the number of relationship managers declined 1.2% to 5,191, according to Asian Private Banker. It was the first time the publisher’s report posted a decline since 2012, when it began compiling the data.

The report cites stringent US tax compliance laws, which made some banks turn away clients with links to that country.

UBS Group, Citigroup and Credit Suisse Group held the top spots for assets under management even though they experienced significant drops.

According to the report. UBS bucked the trend and actually saw assets increase, up 0.7% to $274 billion, while its sales staff fell 7.9% to 1,092. Citigroup’s assets under management fell almost 18% to $210 billion. It also saw a 28% drop in relationship managers to 325 after it sold its Japan consumer operations. Credit Suisse saw assets decline 2.2% to $150.6 billion.

“The good news is that if there is one bright spot in the wealth management world, it is Asia,” said the report.

Deutsche Bank dropped to eighth place from fifth as assets under management sank to $66 billion from $105 billion, Asian Private Banker said. Julius Baer ranked fourth, DBS Group Holdings placed fifth and Morgan Stanley held the sixth spot, with each climbing one rung in the rankings.

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