Taipei Fubon Bank’s Futuristic Wealth Management- ‘Smart Investments’

Taipei Fubon Bank’s Futuristic Wealth Management- ‘Smart Investments’

Banks & Financial institutions are increasingly deploying new technology to succeed in the age of technology. However, Taipei Fubon Bank’s vision is to use digital technology to make its clients succeed.  It has an intense focus on keeping Customers-First and ensuring that technology is used to deliver more effective, easier-to-use and faster financial services & solutions to customers.  Taipei Fubon Bank President- Roman Cheng- never gets tired of pointing-out that it is not about technology, it is about creating strong UVPs and delivering great customer experiences.

This approach has led to many innovative products in recent years that have been recognized not only for the latest technology but, more importantly, for popularity with customers and resulting high usage rates.  One of these innovative products is Taipei Fubon bank’s recent flagship offering for Wealth Management customers- ‘Smart Investment’.

Smart Investment platform helps customers make better financial choices by enabling them with financial data & digital technology.  Customers can use the ‘Smart Investment’ platform to create financial plans suited to their individual needs as well as help them decide how to maximize portfolio returns by using low interest loan to invest in higher yield investments. This innovative offering is already in use by about 18K WM customers– an impressive achievement for a new product in a highly competitive Taiwan market.

Taipei Fubon Bank has been leading the new trends in Wealth management & Private banking in the last few years; and has received several recognitions for its customer focus and use of technology. Global Private Banking Innovation Awards 2020 (GPB Awards) by The Digital Banker recently recognized Taipei Fubon Bank with three major awards- the Best Private Bank, and the best private bank in AI & Big Data respectively.  Moreover, Taipei Fubon bank was adjudged ‘Highly Acclaimed’ in two more categories- Best Private Bank for Client Experience and Outstanding Technology Implementation (Back End).

“Taipei Fubon Bank is known for its tenacity in providing exceptional service to its customers. Using its core strength in technology to boost its business and serve its customers in a manner that provides great value, they have proven once again that they are second to none.”

The Global Private Banking Innovation Awards 2020 (GPB 2020) organized by The Digital Banker are highly regarded and valued in wealth management industry.  GPB Awards are judged by private wealth industry leaders and are aimed to identify and recognize the world’s best in class Private Banks, Family Offices and Wealth Managers that demonstrate elite levels of performance & creativity across Fixed Income, ESG, Structured Investments, Family Office Services, Discretionary Services, FX & Cash Management, Funds, UHNW, Islamic Finance and more. This year’s panel of judges include subject-matter experts known for their integrity and unbiased adjudication from companies such as Forrester, Protiviti and EY.

Power of AI/ ML for WM customers-‘Smart Investment’

Smart Investment platform is based on two major technologies.  Firstly the algorithms to generate & evaluate multiple scenarios and arrive at best choices for each individual customer.  The second is an automated platform using artificial neural network to detect customer repayment information & deliver timely alerts to customers.  ‘Smart Investment’ is a simple-to use but powerful platform that is able to assist all customers including those without any investment background to start on their financial management journey.

This app, the first of its kind in Taiwan, gives customers automated advice on multiple aspects of financial management. The goal is to provide relevant information to help clients in making sound financial decisions.  ‘Smart Investment’ integrates to mobile and online banking channels and constantly reviews customers’ data such as loan amount, interest payments, remaining instalments, etc.  Smart Investment is then able to recommend the best options available for each customer.  In addition, the alert system built into the Smart Investment platform gives Taipei Fubon Bank the ability to detect important issues that need urgent attention.

Taipei Fubon Bank’s nearly 18,000 customers with AUM of USD 1bn are already making better financial planning decisions through this ‘Smart Investment’ app.  These usage numbers continue to grow with more & more customers adopting the smarter way to investing!

‘Smart Investment’ is a digital application that even assists customers without any investment background to start their financial management journey.

Prosperity Across Generations 

In 2018 Taipei Fubon Bank launched the Exclusive Banking Group- a new client-centric service model catering to top-tier clients.  Based on results of customer research & insights from HNW Private Banking customers, a unique brand was created– “Prosperity Across Generations”.

Taipei Fubon Bank believes that HNW clients need the same level of service & products as corporate clients and aims at serving HNW individuals as “corporates”. Increasingly Bank’s high net worth clients, just like corporates, face complex challenges for asset and wealth management. Simple services like family asset management are necessary but no longer sufficient for the needs of these HNW clients.

Taipei Fubon Bank assists high net worth clients using a comprehensive service approach that includes both the “upstream” and the “downstream” opportunities to offer a complete investment ecosystem to its customers.

In another first for any bank in Taiwan, Taipei Fubon Bank collaborates with Lombard Odier, a 224-year-old Swiss private bank, to provide the world’s best private banking services to its customers.  With client-centric focus, investment in technology and expertise of its well-trained bankers, Taipei Fubon Bank has rapidly developed itself into a world-class provider of private banking services exclusive clients in Taiwan.

“Prosperity Across Generations requires wealth management with relevant information, timeliness and global perspectives for our clients. Taipei Fubon Bank is focused on providing these to its customers so that they can focus on their own businesses and families.”

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>>To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

How the Pandemic is Forcing Wealth Managers to Evolve

How the Pandemic is Forcing Wealth Managers to Evolve

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the entire globe in an unprecedented manner. It has presented the world with a humanitarian and health challenge that can only be combated by deliberate and hard-fixed actions. With an increase in mortality rates across the globe, many nations remain perplexed about issues brought about by the pandemic. And as a matter of urgency, people affected by the virus need adequate support. There is also a need to create a vaccine to combat death rate and stabilize activities across the globe.

Besides the direct effect of the virus on human lives and livelihoods, it is also essential to consider its impact on the industrial and economic facets of various nations around the world. And that wealth-management systems have also been hit by the pandemic sheds more light on why firms need to come up with practical and strategic responses to the situation.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, wealth-management businesses are currently faced with two different circumstances. First, they can procure updated digital plans that may include educating their customers on how to maximize their digital extensions. Secondly, the pandemic undoubtedly presents wealth-management firms with a temporary problem of customer inactivity.

Considering that the degrees to which clients would utilize digital service will inevitably differ, wealth management firms should seriously consider providing digital strategies and action points for their clients.

If investors are going to be reassured of their investment portfolios with wealth-management firms, a strengthening of engagement metrics would be necessary.

The Evolving Role of Wealth Managers

Wealthy investors would want to have updated details of their investments, alongside other conditions such as maintaining market neutrality in the face of high uncertainty. To keep clients feel reassured of the status of their investments, firms must take strategic actions to arrest any worries.

If investors are going to be reassured of their investment portfolios with wealth-management firms, a strengthening of engagement metrics would be necessary. Firms should consider improving their online presence and be more in touch with the pulse of the market. They can also equip portfolio managers with sophisticated communication tools like investment notes, video content and podcasts to deliver investment policies and philosophy to clients. When contacts are made continuously from the company’s leadership (relationship and portfolio managers) to the client, clients get to be reassured of the financial status of the firm.

Consistent communication among firm’s leadership is also highly important. Given the importance of relevant updates to clients’ portfolios, managers must keep updated tabs on the market fluctuations. Meetings for portfolio update can be integrated into the workflow of the wealth managers – and must be done consistently. These are necessary for understanding the impact of the change on clients’ investments. 

Relationship managers are basically at the core of the relationship between wealth-management firms and their clients. They are to possess detailed knowledge of clients’ portfolios and be able to rebalance them for improved security and sustainability. Relationship Managers may also have to be guided by tax professionals if clients are going to have all their tax-related concerns addressed.

Wealth management techniques and tools can be harnessed to keep relationship managers updated about clients’ portfolios. And relationship managers could increase their reliability by test-running their methods of analysis – mainly their automated rebalancing processes – before implementation.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

COVID-19 How Asset Allocation Impacts Investment Deals of the Ultra-Rich

COVID-19: How Asset Allocation Impacts Investment Deals of the Ultra-Rich

The current coronavirus pandemic is taking a massive toll on both the public health as well as the economy of the world. Its impact has been so severe and totally unprecedented that individuals and nations alike are being affected by it – even the world’s ultra-rich.

Presently, only a handful of economic sectors are experiencing slight increases in demand. Others, including businesses owned and managed by wealthy individuals, are merely trying to stay afloat in an ocean of negative outcomes brought about by the pandemic. Besides concerns about the health and wellbeing of loved ones, most wealthy people are currently grappling with the devastating effect of the pandemic on their wealth.

And while developed countries have sufficient resources to keep their citizens and economies going in this period, developing countries may not be able to do the same.

Given that stock markets around the globe are barely trying to survive the negative impact of the pandemic, most wealthy individuals will also experience a significant reduction in their wealth. As a matter of fact, even the Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) segment had been affected by this pandemic.

Presently, only a handful of economic sectors are experiencing slight increases in demand. Others, including businesses owned and managed by wealthy individuals, are merely trying to stay afloat in an ocean of negative outcomes brought about by the pandemic.

However, the level of impact the pandemic will have on the wealth of UHNW individuals depends mainly on their asset allocations. For individuals with liquidated assets, they are more likely to experience depreciation in value – against the U.S dollar – for their assets. The only lucky ones would likely be those with liquid asset reserves in the U.S dollar.

Furthermore, the response of governments and health sectors to the pandemic will also determine how wealth is affected by this period. And when the worst is over, the recovery rate of economies will equally determine – to a large extent – the overall impact of the pandemic on wealth.

Ever since the COVID-19 induced lockdown and social distancing practices, digitalization has experienced an exponential increase in engagement. Virtually every organization and business have resorted to online platforms for their day-to-day interactions. People have retreated to online messaging and video calls to keep in touch, and educational institutions have upped their games in their respective online engagement platforms.

And with an uncountable number of people now working remotely, organizations have beefed up their connectivity and online security measures. Bloomberg further notes that it is becoming somewhat evident that remote working would remain as an aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Following this spike in the use and patronage of technology, investors are currently observing an increase in the interest of UHNW individuals in technology. Private tech companies are gradually also becoming the target of long-term investment deals by UHNW individuals.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

Do tech-based investments present good opportunity for the UHNW segment today

Do tech-based investments present good opportunity for the UHNW segment today?

For several years now, and right before the onset of the pandemic, the tech market has continuously received particular attention from prominent investors.  It was pretty standard for individuals to make their investments directly to companies, or via their branch offices. In fact, a report compiled by Campden Research from 360 family offices reveals that technology is one of the key sectors they prefer to invest in.

Clearly, the pandemic is gradually creating a shift in the way, and manner, people respond to technology. Things that would ordinarily have been done offline are now being fulfilled via technology. And a more significant number of people are harnessing technology for specific purposes.

Tech companies in the private market are now being considered a huge investment opportunity by the UHNW segment. And education happens to be on top of the list of lucrative tech-based investments. As a matter of fact, the pandemic has led virtually every learning institution to shift their activities from physical, to virtual classrooms. And UHNW individuals will not let the opportunity pass. Snapask, a prominent tutoring software that kick-started in Hong Kong, was able to raise a sum of $35 million “to expand in Southeast Asia.” According to a TechCrunch report, “the company now has a total of 3 million students, with 1.3 million who registered over the past twelve months. Over the past year, 100,000 tutors have applied, taking Snapask’s current total to 350,000 applicants.”

The pandemic is gradually creating a shift in the way, and manner, people respond to technology. Things that would ordinarily have been done offline are now being fulfilled via technology.

Online shopping and food delivery platforms are also experiencing the bright side of the pandemic. They are benefiting hugely from meeting the needs of people who are working remotely. Recently, a Korean grocery startup Kurly has raised $150 million in their recent financing round while an Indian shopping platform BigBasket was able to raise $60 million as it continues to scale its business.

Other sectors of technology currently considered by investors encompass the standard tech features that typically accompanies the general use of technology. Cybersecurity, IT services, and enterprise solutions fall into these sectors. Investors are actively considering these respective companies as they are equipped to withstand any degree of economic decline, according to an industry report. Their functions make up essentials in businesses and organizational workflows.

It is further noted in the report that the tech market is currently outgrowing other industries that have always been stable over the years. Companies who are likely to excel in the current global economy are those who proffer technological solutions to business growth and human resource expansion.

In deciding on the company to make investments in, financial institutions are guided by a set of processes to evaluate organizations. First, they review the company’s most recent audited financial records. Then they go on to check the validity of agreements and contracts by interviewing clients and stakeholders.

These evaluations are crucial because every investor wants to be sure that every step has been satisfactorily checked off before committing their assets to companies. So that irrespective of market conditions, investors do not leave out any rule of investment. Instead, they are to follow every due diligence of investment structure to attain a well-distinguished asset portfolio.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

 

The New Normal in Payments is Digital-thumb

The New Normal in Payments is Digital

The COVID-19 has prompted several countries to implement various modes of lockdown measures to contain its spread. Safe distancing has become the new norm and work from home has become the default option for many companies and organisations looking to strike a delicate balance between safety and productivity. As a result, it accelerated the adoption of digital payments across many industries.

The fact that using cash or physical bank notes could potentially help the spread of COVID-19 is just one of the factors. While there is no definitive conclusion on this matter yet, many government leaders are taking a cautious approach and are limiting the circulation of cash or bank notes in their system. For example, South Korea, China and the US Federal Reserve have implemented a process to disinfect their banknotes. In fact, “all Chinese banks must now literally launder their cash, disinfecting it with ultraviolet light and high temperatures, then storing it for seven to 14 days before releasing it to customers,” says CNN in its report.

Could these actions be considered extreme precautionary measures? Perhaps. But one thing is clear: such interventions on the supply and circulation of bank notes will directly impact cash payments, further opening the floodgates for further adoption of digital payments.

Safe distancing has become the new norm and work from home has become the default option for many companies and organisations. As a result, it accelerated the adoption of digital payments across many industries.

Digitally ready banks are poised to emerge stronger

As the situation stabilises, and some sense of normalcy start to kick in, banks that are digitally ready are poised to benefit greatly. Investments that help bolster digital payments infrastructure, open banking, artificial intelligence, and data analytics will prove to be wise decisions. In fact, some of the initiatives that have started even before the current pandemic hits now provide considerable value to the customers and entities they aim to serve. Some of them are:

UnionBank’s Financial Supply Chain on Blockchain

In an age where exchanges of goods and services has never been more closely connected, Financial Supply Chain has never been so crucial. Financial Supply Chain on Blockchain enables transparency while protecting sensitive data and information through distributed ledgers and smart contracts. This enables UnionBank to offer non-traditional payment options to Small and Medium Enterprises, Distributors, Suppliers and Dealers while digitizing the invoice presentment and demand order processing.

The development (in partnership with IBM) of the Financial Supply Chain System on Blockchain gives the Distributors, Dealers and Suppliers that are enrolled in the system the confidence to avail non-traditional financing options on a single click of a button. This provides efficiency in managing their receivables and payables as manual processing takes too much time.

NETS’ Click

NETS Click enables the digitisation of NETS Bank Cards on third party merchant mobile applications for secure seamless payments. The product was conceived and built in-house with a lean project team comprising cross-functional domain experts from product, technology, security and compliance teams. The design is aligned to concepts of EMVCo’s Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) and fulfils equally stringent industry security requirements.

NETS Click features a highly advanced security design incorporating multi-layered mobile digital security, EMV-based tokenisation technology, bank card and consumer verification methods. Most importantly, it was developed with a human-centred product design. The result is a simple and friendly user journey incorporating advanced mobile runtime threat detection coupled with host-based AI-driven fraud and security monitoring.

TMRW by UOB’s Intelligent Assistant

TMRW’s distinct service delivery model brings together a complex orchestration of chatbot, live chat, and VOIP voice call similar to some of the leading messaging platforms – creating an experience unmatched by any typical bank. TMRW’s chatbot Tia (TMRW Intelligent Assistant) is right at the center of this experience.

The chatbot orchestration is the first digital service model that uses chatbot to orchestrate the delivery of customer service as a combination of self service, FAQ responses and human support through voice or chat – all without the user having to ever exit or switch away from the TMRW app.

The New Normal is Digital

It is still early to conclude what’s the landscape will look like once the dust fully settles. As it is, the battle against the current pandemic is still ongoing. From a purely financial context, we can clearly see the signs towards increased digitisation of payments. How big and how fast it will grow still remains to be seen.

We can only hope that the present crisis could be eliminated soon. As the world continues to rely on technology to solve many of today’s ills, our habits, patterns and way of living never ceases to evolve. One thing is for sure: the COVID-19 is forcing upon us a new normal – a new normal that thrives on increased digitisation.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the digital banking landscape, download the latest issue of The Digital Banker Magazine HERE.

3 Things Private Banks Can Learn From this Period of Pandemic

3 Things Private Banks Can Learn From this Period of Pandemic

Soon after the financial crisis that turned the global economy in shambles in 2008, regulators came up with policies to avoid a more disastrous re occurrence. And they weren’t off point when they stipulated that banks should beef up capital and fortify their liquidity against the impacts of any future financial crises.

Furthermore, regulators had to put each bank through a yearly assessment to ascertain whether they were equipped enough to scale through the worsts of economic meltdowns. Based on studies, a very sharp global GDP decline of up to 7% would’ve already been pretty bad. At the time, bankers and regulators thought it was the worst the world could ever experience.

However, with the occurrence of the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with governments’ reactions to its damaging effects, many economies are on the verge of a total shutdown. And the projected decline of global GDP may even be worse than earlier projections. As the situation is still very fluid, no one can even tell when will the worst be over. This now warrants a re-examination of the fate of the private banking sector.

Here are the 3 things private banks can learn from this period of the pandemic:

The projected decline of global GDP may even be worse than earlier projections. As the situation is still very fluid, no one can even tell when will the worst be over. This now warrants a re-examination of the fate of the private banking sector.

1. Digital Interactions are Worth It

Before the pandemic, only a few wealth managers could boast of harnessing digital platforms to interact with their clients. However, as the pandemic lingers, many wealth owners have resorted to digital platforms for communication with their wealth managers. And given that digital platforms are more convenient and efficient than physical ones, digital means of wealth management may remain relevant even after the pandemic. Wealth managers who are unable to implement digital strategies may fall into the losing team.

2. Crisis Prediction Must Take a Holistic Approach

No prediction could get close enough to guessing that the coronavirus pandemic would occur the way it did. In the same manner, it never occurred to financial experts that the virus would impact the global economy so severely. The world economy was caught unaware by the pandemic because new investment schemes were being carried out based on information obtained from individual commissions. Hence the pandemic simply points to the fact that future financial researches may have to be done from a more holistic point of view.

3. Working Remotely is a Win-Win

Wealth managers may need to incorporate remote offices into their work models if they intend to stay relevant. The pandemic has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is possible to keep a business going from different homes. As a matter of fact, remote offices are more flexible, efficient, and cost-effective. And although a lot still has to be done to implement new business principles while working remotely, it is only a matter of time before it becomes prevalent.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

What Lessons Wealth Managers Can Gain from the COVID-19 Crisis

What Lessons Wealth Managers Can Gain from the COVID-19 Crisis

By all indications, almost all sectors of the economy are bound to suffer a significant blow during the current pandemic. Before the pandemic, many private banks that handle the finances of affluent customers were merely struggling to stay afloat. Positioned between large international banks and startup local financial institutions, private banks have always experienced difficulties in attracting customers to themselves.

However, with the onset of the virus, the wealth management sector will likely experience a significant shift in its operations. Those that have strategically planned how to best take advantage of this period will emerge victorious. While others that continue to operate with increased costs and diminishing margins may be taken out of business.

Here are some lessons wealth managers can glean from the current COVID-19 crisis:

Clients’ Data is as Important as the Clients Themselves

Wealth managers who fail to harness the power of data may suffer losses in this period. Gone are the days when client data is obtained haphazardly and without any regard to privacy. The way things look, private banks may need to be more thoughtful in getting and utilizing their clients’ data if they are going to work effectively.

Education Never Ends

Even when the Covid-19 pandemic is over, work and life, in general, may not remain as they were. Bankers and employers may need to get engaged in continuous education across several disciplines to stay relevant. And wealth management firms that will also remain relevant would have to learn to integrate ongoing learning experiences into their operative business models.

Adjustments in wealth management priorities will also spell a need for a change in investment models. Future clients (who have experienced the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic) would definitely lose interest in conventional investment models.

Priorities and Values Will Shift

A lot of businesses and industries may have to readjust their values after this pandemic. The upcoming generation may also come to appreciate values like modesty, transparency, and sustainability. For wealth managers, this priority shift may focus on providing their clients with real solutions to their needs – not void marketing promises. And those who fail to implement relevant changes in their values may not get the best of clients afterward.

Conventional Will Give Way to Innovation

Adjustments in wealth management priorities will also spell a need for a change in investment models. Future clients (who have experienced the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic) would definitely lose interest in conventional investment models. They would begin to seek platforms that allow them to invest in thematic ventures rather than complex financial commodities. In essence, Private Banks may also need to look to more persuasive and thorough investment models after the pandemic.

Operational Resilience is Key

Perhaps one of the most important lessons this present crisis has taught us is that resilience, in all aspects of our lives, is a key ingredient to thrive in this environment. Similar to how sophisticated systems and products are being subjected to thorough stress-testing, business operations of private banks must also live up to the challenges ahead of it. The bank’s leadership must put in place effective stop-gap measures to deal with immediate concerns, then move to a more sustainable operational models absent any conventional tools and support to make sure business will survive- and thrive – in times of prolonged difficulties.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

The Private Wealth Landscape in Mauritius and Bank One’s Approach to Wealth Management

The Private Wealth Landscape in Mauritius and Bank One’s Approach to Wealth Management

Bank One’s Guillaume Passebecq, Head of Private Banking & Wealth Management shares insights on Bank One’s approach in wealth management, the private wealth landscape in Mauritius and the crucial role digital channels play in private banking strategy. Below are the excerpts of our interview.

Can you tell us about the efficacy of Bank One’s approach in wealth management?

Guillaume Passebecq, Head of Private Banking & Wealth Management

Guillaume Passebecq: Bank One is a leading Mauritian bank with a regional footprint. Its two shareholders, Mauritian conglomerate CIEL Limited and Kenya-based I&M Holdings, have an extended presence on the African continent and banking operations in Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Our shareholders’ strong footing in Africa grants us easy access to the securities markets in Kenya and Rwanda, positioning us as a favourable bridge to the booming East African market.

With our on-the-ground presence in Africa, a robust custodian network that extends over 50 countries, and with Euroclear as our main depository, all our clients; individuals, external asset managers and financial institutions; have direct access to the deep insights of our local and international experts.

We operate on a total Open Architecture model that offers best-of-breed products from multiple global providers. The collaborative nature of this model allows us to unlock a world of opportunities and deliver a diversified range of local and international solutions, including bonds, equities, ETFs, funds, and structured products. Our primary focus is the protection and growth of our clients’ wealth. Through our Open Architecture model, our clients can choose one or more independent portfolio managers, who will leverage their in-depth knowledge to deliver the desired investment objective.

Moreover, as their custodian bank, we are responsible for the safety of our clients’ securities and assets, which are recorded off-balance sheet. Our depositary, Euroclear – rated AA+ by Fitch Ratings and AA by Standard & Poor’s – is a proven and resilient provider of securities settlements.

At Bank One, we help our clients navigate the complex world of financial services by bringing forth different investment solutions. We offer both Execution Services which allows them to trade directly on all international markets by accessing our extensive network of trading specialists and Discretionary Portfolio Management (DPM) where they are able to choose an expert to oversee their financial assets.

How has the private wealth landscape in Mauritius changed over the last 5 years and what trends are emerging that may not be so apparent?

Guillaume Passebecq: The private wealth industry continues to experience significant challenges and transformation. Over the last 5 years, the industry in Mauritius has gained more exposure to international standards both in terms of pure banking products and services as well as more sophisticated investment solutions. The fact that Mauritius historically attracted and continues to attract foreign investors, is a key element of our business model. We believe that the foreign investors look for a more holistic advisory solution that encompasses their needs across a wide range of financial products and services.

Alignment with international laws and standards has also contributed to make the Mauritian Financial System more transparent and robust. Recent EU decisions are forcing Mauritius to reinvent itself as the industry’s development lies even more on internationalisation and it can adapt to those standards.

Last but not least, the local private wealth landscape has also experienced significant digitalisation efforts in recent years, with the introduction of real-time digital access and a strong custody services offer. HNW customers in particular are looking for a more hybrid approach. They want the best of both worlds as they are not ready to forego the human touch but they are also looking for a bank that can provide them with a complete digital banking experience where advisory can be provided via email or over the phone.

Over the last 5 years, the industry in Mauritius has gained more exposure to international standards both in terms of pure banking products and services as well as more sophisticated investment solutions.

How crucial of a part do digital channels and ecosystems play in Bank ONE’s strategy? What new products and/or services are your customers requesting as a result of COVID-19?

Guillaume Passebecq: From a pure banking perspective, customer behaviour and expectations are constantly evolving. They are expecting a seamless digital banking experience using mobile applications as well as a digitally-driven communication model from their financial service providers. Traditional brick and mortar are, in turn, being converted into greener and more efficient workspaces allowing for a more pleasant interaction with the customer.

Bank One has fully embraced this wave and invested massively in digital channels, as the old paradigm is no longer sufficient to maintain a competitive edge in the market. We have revisited our business strategy and operational model to invest in digital channels such as a revamped Internet Banking platform, a new Mobile Banking application, a full-fledged Custody platform and an E-advisory platform. Our strategy is focused on customer satisfaction and it is in our DNA to evolve with global market changes.

Can you see a silver lining in the midst of the Covid-19 cloud, in terms of handling customer expectations?

Guillaume Passebecq: In every crisis, clients expect more proximity from their banks and a close follow-up of their investments. This period of financial stress has brought forward the resilience of Bank One’s Open Architecture model, as multi-management investment solution can be an efficient way of reducing performance volatility.

The global economy has been experiencing dramatic changes since the fourth quarter of last year. Apart from the bitter effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we also witnessed negative oil prices for the first time ever. Increased ESG-related transformations, such as climate change, are starting to affect peoples’ daily habits.

We believe that the current crisis is changing the mind-set of some investors with greater emphasis on green investment given a fresh focus that looks further into the future. COVID-19 is further accelerating ESG investments, which have seen a steady increase of inflows and better-than-average returns since the beginning of the pandemic. I believe the rationale behind is that the COVID-19 crisis has put the spotlight on vulnerabilities and our dependence on the natural environment.

This crisis has also placed greater emphasis on the security of clients’ assets amidst greater risk and volatility. At Bank One, our primary focus is the protection and growth of client’s wealth and we make sure that their investments are kept off balance sheet with a trusted depository like Euroclear acting as the provider for securities settlements.

Bank One has fully embraced this wave and invested massively in digital channels, as the old paradigm is no longer sufficient to maintain a competitive edge in the market.

As a winner of Best Product Innovation at the Global Private Banking Innovation Awards 2020, what is on your immediate digital innovation wish list for Bank One?

Guillaume Passebecq: We are at a very special moment in history right now and uncertainty around the depth and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced banks to review their current processes and re-invent themselves. More than ever, we have seen that digital transformation is the key to enduring such crisis. Lockdown does not necessarily mean shut down. At Bank One, we have been able to navigate through this crisis and ensure normal banking operations are carried out thanks to the digitalisation of our internal processes.

Bank One has customer satisfaction as one of its core tenets. We believe that we can position ourselves to capitalise on the emergence digital services trend whilst adopting a customer-centric approach to stay true to our values. Digital transformation at Bank One is not a project, it is an ongoing process. It is in our DNA to continuously reassess our processes and platforms in order to meet changing customer needs and market dynamics.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

What Attracts Wealthy Entrepreneurs to Standard Chartered Private Bank

What Attracts Wealthy Entrepreneurs to Standard Chartered Private Bank

Standard Chartered Bank’s Ali Hammad, Market Head – Private Banking at Standard Chartered MENA shares insights on attracting wealthy families in the Middle East, the role of nascent technology in banking and how private wealth is dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Below are the excerpts of our interview.

What differentiates your business in the Middle East and what attracts wealthy entrepreneurs and families to Standard Chartered Private bank?

Ali Hammad: Standard Chartered has a unique position in the Middle East. We are an international bank with a unique global footprint that continues to provide clients with access to some of the biggest growth markets around the world and expertise to make the most of every opportunity.  Relationships with clients are at the heart of everything the Bank does, and its full spectrum of banking services offers clients the opportunity to grow and protect both their business and personal wealth, helping to build an enduring legacy for the future. This, importantly, is coupled with our deep-rooted history in the region, local insight, and on-ground capabilities. Additionally, despite our long-standing history, we remain innovative and are continually enhancing our services based on the current market and evolving needs of our client.

Our investment philosophy stems from the Bank’s commitment to empowering its clients to make unbiased investment decisions and make the most of their wealth, with a transparent process to curate and debate diverse insights for more objective advice. This is combined with open source access to solutions that meet their goals.

In 2019, the Bank’s growth was fuelled by strong income and Net New Money.  It was the third consecutive year of top-line growth with the business generating income of $577m, which was up 12% YoY.  It was also the third consecutive year that the business delivered positive inflows with Net New Money at $2.6bn.

Over the past year, the Private Bank has also continued to drive performance by incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into investment decisions, the foundation of sustainable investing.  It is also one of the key pillars on which our sustainability aspirations are built to truly be a force for good.

As such, we’re recognised as an industry leader in wealth management across our key markets, specifically the MENA region.

How important of a role has nascent technology such as Machine Learning, AI and Big Data played in your firm?

Ali Hammad: From retail and private banking, to digital only banks, Standard Chartered has placed the integration of progressive and disruptive technologies at the fore of its robust offering. On the ground, financial institutions are feeling the heat of a sluggish economy. In particular, private banking institutions are heavily impacted.

Our use of state-of-the-art technologies stems across the entirety of our operations. For instance, across eight markets on the African continent, client onboarding is fully digitised and takes less than 15 minutes. A client can open a new account entirely through our award-winning SC Private Banking app anytime, anywhere – from the comfort of their own home or while on the road, thanks to the accessibility and ease of our solution.  It provides a secure means for clients to communicate with their Private Banker, access investment publications, view all registered activity and manage personal details and preferences online.  As of June 2020, the Bank has recorded around a 40% increase in client usage over the past six months.

We are continually innovating our products and services to ensure we’re able to remain ahead of the curve. For example, the Bank’s proprietary open banking platform, aXess, serves as one of our many uses of progressive technologies, wherein the platform drives connectivity and partnerships between external developers, corporates and fintechs. The platform enables participants to co-create better client products and services through the sharing of APIs and libraries.

The Private Bank has also enhanced its trading capabilities for clients with a leading FX derivatives platform, called FXD Connect.  It delivers the best solutions at competitive market prices while cutting response times by more than 90% to less than a minute.  Standard Chartered Private bank is one of the first banks to launch the FXD Connect platform, positioning the Bank as a leading FX house in the industry.

Similarly, we were among the first international banks in the UAE to launch the major wallet solutions, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, giving customers the flexibility to complete mobile transactions faster, and through the wallet partner of their choice.

We will continue to invest in expanding these functionalities to evolve with our customers’ changing lifestyles and needs. These introductions, of course, could not have been plausible without the progressive abilities of tools such as AI, Big Data and Machine Learning.

Over the past year, Standard Chartered Private Bank has continued to drive performance by incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into investment decisions, the foundation of sustainable investing.

What is your outlook on the impact of COVID-19 on the private wealth landscape over the next 12-24 months, and what critical measures has SC Private Bank taken to navigate these waters?

Ali Hammad: The impact of COVID-19 on the realm of private wealth is sizable, specifically when accounting for the extreme volatility felt across various markets and the subsequent urge to ensure sufficient liquidity during these unprecedented times. As such, the next 12-24 months will be critical as we begin to emerge from the immediate crisis and clients begin to regain their financial health. However, it would be premature to make any definite predictions so early on.

Concerning our support efforts, the Bank has taken extraordinary measures to mitigate the health, financial, societal, and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bank’s support is geared towards ensuring the wellbeing and stability of our clients, our employees, and the community as a whole.

Understandably, many clients are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their wealth, particularly with the volatility we have seen across financial markets globally during this period.  It has been a worrying time for most and, for us, being available and keeping in regular contact with clients has been critical.  The strength of our relationships and the trust built with our clients have come into their own.  We’ve been able to minimise any disruption to our client service and continue to provide expert advice and reassurance and keep clients up-to-date as the crisis evolves.

Across the wider AME region, including in the UAE, we have enacted a three-month payment holiday on existing personal loans, car loans and mortgages, with zero fees. Also, all clients can choose to pay only the interest component of their loan for a period of three months. Concerning credit card purchases, we have provided our clients the ability to receive a 50 percent reduction on cash advance fees and a refund on any foreign currency transaction fees on cancelled travel bookings. The Bank has also afforded clients the ability to convert selected fees and purchases, including hospital, school, utility, and grocery fees, into equal monthly instalments at 0 percent interest and no processing fees.

What are some of the digital capabilities your firm is investing in, as a result of client demand?

Ali Hammad: The Bank has kept its finger on the pulse of the emerging technologies sector. We are continually exploring opportunities for further integrating the latest digital capabilities to our portfolio of products and services. Our digital-only banks in Africa are a great example of this, as they were a direct-result of our clients’ demand for convenient and accessible financial services in the markets.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a bank’s ability to provide its clients with uninterrupted offerings via digital mediums was of the utmost importance. Fortunately, Standard Chartered was an early champion of digital banking and was well-positioned to provide clients with its full suite of services through its many technological offerings. A prime example of this is our real-time onboarding service, a first-of-its-kind in the UAE, wherein customers of Standard Chartered are able to sign up for an account in as little as 10 minutes through an entirely automated process.

However, looking ahead of the current crisis, digital adoption will certainly be a popular undertaking across the regional banking landscape, specifically surrounding contactless payments and mobile banking.

The young generation of today is exposed to technology in their lives more so than ever.  This brings about a certain level of expectation. They anticipate leading-edge technology solutions to manage and access their finances ‘on the go’.  It’s fairly usual for say, High Net Worth Individuals, to have multiple investment relationships across several platforms and advisors, and to require consolidation of information at the touch of a button.  Technology has made access to information much easier. Therefore, the requirement for sophisticated advice will continue to grow to help attract the next generation.

Although the Bank is a substantial player in the digital banking field, we look to further invest in emerging technologies, such as AI and Big Data, to ensure our offerings conform to the utmost standard.

Not only that but additionally being at the forefront of the latest technology helps to attract up-coming young professionals. These employees are looking for employers that are more innovative in nature, which provides a deeper sense of purpose and offers flexibility.

Which private products and services is your organisation focusing on innovating as a priority over the next year?

Ali Hammad: Across our various private services, including wealth solutions, legacy planning, and sustainable investments, we look to integrate the latest technologies, digitise our offerings, and provide our clients with flexibility that doesn’t compromise on efficiency.

However, as we slowly emerge from the current crisis, we are prioritising existing relationships with our private clients and ensuring that they are serviced and supported to the utmost standard. As I’ve previously mentioned, the Bank continues to heavily invest in the latest technologies, yet we’re also equally as invested in retaining the ‘human’ element of banking. Integrating top-of-the-line digital capabilities with elite customer service serves as the basis of our client-driven philosophy, ensuring that our clients are catered to the highest degree.

Customer satisfaction remains key to the success of our business and we are committed to seeing our clients through these turbulent times, as well as safeguard their wealth and investments. For our entrepreneurial clients, we aim to place our focus on their financial and operational health, as the current challenges continue to implicate their businesses.

The Bank’s drive to remain innovative will continue onwards, however, the current climate calls for increased attention on our clients and their endeavours.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.

Bank One Pushing the Envelope in Product Innovation

Bank One: Pushing the Envelope in Product Innovation

Gone are the days when private banking used to be traditional and stodgy. Enter the age of technology and innovation. Or in the case of Bank One Private Banking, the rise of open architecture.

Bank One operates on a total Open Architecture model that offers best-of-breed products from multiple global providers. The collaborative nature of this model allows it to unlock a world of opportunities and deliver a diversified range of local and international solutions, including bonds, equities, ETFs, funds, and structured products. Being the only Private Bank in Mauritius offering an Open Architecture Wealth Management product combined with a real-time digital access and custody solution, Bank One is a true paragon of private banking innovation.

Recognising this exceptional feat, Bank One Private Banking, Wealth Management & Securities Services (Bank One) was awarded Winner, Best Private Bank – South Africa and Best Product Innovation at the Global Private Banking Innovation Awards 2020 (GPB Awards) by The Digital Banker.

Guillaume Passebecq, Head of Private Banking & Wealth Management

Considered as the industry’s most authoritative private wealth awards, The Global Private Banking Innovation Awards 2020 (GPB 2020) organised by The Digital Banker identifies and distinguishes the world’s best in class Private Banks, Family Offices and Wealth Managers that demonstrate elite levels of performance & creativity.

Among the highly respected industry experts who helped select this year’s award winners are leaders from companies such as Forrester, Protiviti and EY. Previous year’s judges include PwC, KPMG, and Fuji Xerox.

“Bank One’s strong innovative culture is a key differentiator for them in the market. Through its 100% Open Architecture platform and Live Custody Software, its customers can grow, manage and preserve their wealth optimally. By combining in-house knowledge and expertise with the best investment opportunities from asset managers globally, Bank One’s clients enjoy greater freedom, greater choice, and greater value,” said Nirav Patel, Managing Director at The Digital Banker, the organiser of the Global Private Banking Innovation Awards during the awards presentation.

In a statement, Guillaume Passebecq, Head of Private Banking & Wealth Management for Bank One Private Banking said: “We are proud to be recognised as Best Private Bank – South Africa and honoured to be awarded for Best Product Innovation by The Digital Banker. Both these awards celebrate the excellent work of our teams but also that of our external asset managers and partners. I believe that in these challenging times, the open architecture model has proven to be more resilient through better diversification of investment holdings. We shall continue to provide our private investors, institutions, external Asset Managers and family offices with tailor-made products and services to meet their financial needs.”

Open Architecture Platform

There is more to growing wealth than simply investing money. And for Bank One, bringing the best investment solutions locally and internationally is the best way to help its customers navigate the complex world of financial services.

In setting up their Open Architecture Wealth Management offer, they have on-boarded the most accomplished asset managers and best-in-class solutions from the financial marketplace. Bank One selected Euroclear as its depositary. Euroclear is rated AA+ by Fitch Ratings and AA by Standard & Poor’s and is a proven and resilient provider of securities settlements, the largest one in the world.  The message that Bank One wants to impart is simple: its clients’ investments are kept off-balance sheet thus providing customers with added peace of mind.

On the other hand, the Bank’s state-of-the-art Custody Platform draws information from multiple sources (local and international) and consolidates data in one portfolio, on one single platform. By simply logging in, Bank One customers are able to view their portfolio’s composition and obtain real-time pricing information sourced from Bloomberg, thus helping them better understand their investment life cycle and make more informed investment decisions.

Bank One operates on a total Open Architecture model that offers best-of-breed products from multiple global providers.

Making a difference in Africa and beyond

Bank One responds to today’s challenges with bespoke securities services designed to cover all the activities of the banking value chain. With its on-the-ground presence in Africa and a robust custodian network that extends over 50 countries, the client’s interests are always at the heart of Bank One.

Bank One has a direct link to global custodians and agent banks that allow them to open accounts in a wide range of markets to facilitate clients’ investment needs. The Bank has the capabilities for the safekeeping of most asset types including equities, ETFs, bonds, structured products, Mauritius Treasury Bills, mutual funds, hedge funds, money market funds and more. Its shareholders’ strong footing in Africa grants them an easy access to the securities markets in Kenya and Rwanda, positioning Bank One as a favourable bridge to the booming East African market.

For Bank One, bringing the best investment solutions locally and internationally is the best way to help its customers navigate the complex world of financial services.

Because of these, the team has counted numerous achievements, which include:

  • Development of a full-fledged Custody platform that allows clients to view their portfolios on-line and in real-time
  • The first bank to have successfully on-boarded a Mauritian Rupee Fund on the Euroclear platform and executed a subscription order. This endeavour has greatly benefited local fund managers, whose funds are now available on an international platform, allowing them to target a wider range of investors across geographical locations.
  • Founded the Investor’s Circle, a biannual networking event that brings together private investors, institutions, asset managers and service providers. The island’s very first B2B platform for finance professionals, Investor’s Circle allows players from the industry to connect, exchange ideas and address shared challenges.

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>> To read more about this story and other exclusive features about the global private banking landscape, download the latest issue of Global Private Banker Magazine HERE.