Private banking is banking, investment and other financial services provided by banks to high-net-worth individuals with high levels of income or invest sizable assets. The term "private" refers to customer service rendered on a more personal basis than in mass-market retail banking, usually via dedicated bank advisers. It does not refer to a private bank, which is a non-incorporated banking institution.
Private banking forms a more exclusive (for the especially affluent) subset of wealth management. At least until recently, it largely consisted of banking services (deposit taking and payments), discretionary asset management, brokerage, limited tax advisory services and some basic concierge-type services, offered by a single designated relationship manager.
Private banking is the way banking originated. The first banks in Venice were focused on managing personal finance for wealthy families. Private banks became known as ‘Private’ to stand out from the retail banking & savings banks aimed at the new middle class. Traditionally, private banks were linked to families for several generations. They often advised and performed all financial & banking services for families. Historically, private banking has developed in Europe (see the List of private banks). Some banks in Europe are known for managing assets of some royal families. The assets of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein are managed by LGT Group (founded in 1920 and originally known as The Liechtenstein Global Trust). The assets of the Dutch royal family are managed by MeesPierson (founded in 1720). The assets of the British Royal Family are managed by Coutts (founded in 1692).