Societe Generale of France hopes to win approval to incorporate on the mainland before the end of the year and expand into a wide range of services, including private banking, in the fast-growing market. The group has limited banking operations on the mainland and provides offshore (non-yuan) private banking services in Shanghai and Beijing. But by incorporating locally, the bank can widen its business scope to areas such as consumer banking, as well as offer onshore private banking business. 'We hope to have the licence very soon,' said Daniel Truchi, chief executive of SG Private Banking. He said the bank would continue to expand its business in the Asia-Pacific region, including the mainland, as it had significant growth potential. The total wealth in the region held by high-net-worth individuals - those with financial assets above US$1 million - amounted to US$9.5 trillion last year, and was forecast to increase to US$13.9 trillion by 2012. The mainland's share accounts for about 20 per cent and will reach 21 per cent in four years, according to estimates by Merrill Lynch and the Capgemini World Wealth Report. Mr Truchi said assets under management by the bank in the region were still growing, although some of its competitors faced a slowdown because of recent financial turmoil. SG Private Banking had total assets under management of US$113.4 billion at the end of March. The private bank formed a global alliance last month with Rockefeller Financial Services by taking a 37 per cent stake in the New York-based wealth management firm. James McDonald, president and chief executive of Rockefeller & Co, said the firm or the alliance might expand through acquisitions if opportunities arose. He said he believed there would be consolidation in the ultra-high wealth market segment globally, especially in North America.