While leading a team in an environment of uncertainty and speculation surrounding the merger of ABN Amro with other banking organisations, Barend Janssens, ABN Amro's head of private banking for Asia, has been named Outstanding Private Banker in Asia-Pacific for 2007. The award, made by the highly respected London-based Private Banker International publication, acknowledges Mr Janssens leadership over the past two years, which has seen an 80 per cent increase in assets under management and a 24 per cent increase in staff numbers coupled with the expansion of the Dutch banking firm's network into China and other Southeast Asian markets. 'Barend Janssens has spearheaded the growth of ABN Amro's Asian operations with inspirational leadership that has been lauded by his team,' said John Evan, Private Banker International Awards representative. Mr Janssens said there was no mystery attached to his private banking division's success. 'The key factor is always to communicate very clearly to clients and staff what we are doing, and not to shy away from our commitments.' The firm operates from a strong client-focused platform driven by professional staff and supported by track-proven processes crafted to produce results for clients. He said sustainable growth required attracting and retaining committed professionals and providing clients with the products and services they felt comfortable with. 'Although we have grown rapidly, we make sure that clients have the touch points they require so they always receive individual attention.' With Mr Janssens at the helm, Amro's Asian private banking division has experienced one of the highest year-on-year growth rates in Asia's highly competitive private banking environment. He said a significant proportion of client growth could be attributed to word of mouth. 'We are pleased that clients feel comfortable with our name and services. We are not heavily focused on selling products, but tuned into the needs of clients.' The ability to attract high calibre private banking professionals had allowed the private banking provider to expand its activities across north and Southeast Asia. 'We expect the Greater China region to be the area where we experience the highest percentage of growth in the future,' he said. The criteria for the awards include the institutions that have been identified to have the best strategy for growing their business base regionally or globally. Also, those that have made the most investment in people and systems to develop their business; those showing the most innovation in products/services; those with demonstrably superior client services and customer relationship management skills; and institutions that have strengthened and extended the stretch of their brands. Also in the running for this year's top award was Hanspeter Brunner, chief executive, Coutts International and executive chairman, Asia and Balakrishnan Kunnambath, managing director and global head of Indian Subcontinent, SG Private Banking (Asia-Pacific).