Cathay United Bank, which launched a private bank division in late March, aims to raise some $1 billion in assets by the second half of 2014, John Huang, chief executive of Cathay’s private bank division, tells AsianInvestor.

Cathay will reach out to high-net-worth individuals and institutions in the coming months, focusing on wealthy entrepreneurs, which Huang estimates make up some 80-90% of the country’s high-net-worth individuals.

“We aim to achieve $1 billion assets under management within the [next] 12 to 18 months,” Huang says. “Our target clients will be professional investors who seek tailor-made solutions. We hope that in the coming 18 months, we can become the preferred private bank for small and medium [size] entrepreneurs in Taiwan.”

Most Taiwanese firms run their private banks under their retail or wealth management segments, making Cathay’s separate division a less common offering for investors.

Cathay aims not only to advise clients on investment solutions, but also with regard to their business needs, such as providing corporate loans and trading-related solutions via collaboration with the corporate bank.

The firm will also offer customised FX and structured products, as well as wealth and trust planning, and will also give investors the ability to invest in funds domiciled offshore.

Cathay will also partner with sister companies and third-party solution providers to advise and support clients in asset or business acquisitions and capital raising in both primary and secondary markets.

Taiwan is one of the wealthiest countries in Asia – there were 89,000 high-net-worth Taiwanese individuals with an estimated $279 billion in 2011, according to RBC Wealth Management’s and Capgemini's 2012 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report.

Yet most private banks are still run under wealth management units are there are no private bank licences in the country.

*A feature on private banking in Taiwan will appear in the May issue of AsianInvestor.