Bloomberg Asia Wealth Summit
August 4, 2022
The definition of wealth has changed over the generations, particularly in Asia. Digitally savvy, well-traveled, born into a more environmentally and socially conscious world than their parents and grandparents, today’s young investors have very different ideas for putting their money to work.
Bloomberg gathered leading investors, economists and money managers to tell the new Asian wealth story.
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- Ashmita Acharya, Retail Banking Head, Citibank Singapore
- Thomas Ang, Global Head of Family Office Services, Wealth Management Division, Credit Suisse
- James Cheo, Chief Investment Officer, Southeast Asia, HSBC Global Private Banking and Wealth
- Jean Chia, Managing Director, Head, Portfolio Management and Research Office, Bank of Singapore
- Mia Deng, Partner, Dragonfly Capital
- Vishal Harnal, Managing Director, 500 SouthEast Asia
- Nanda Ivens, Chief Marketing Officer, Tokocrypto
- Linus Lim, Chief Executive Officer and Head of ESG Investing, PhillipCapital
- Rachel Lim, Co-Founder, Love, Bonito
- Nuno Matos, Chief Executive, Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC
- Gareth Nicholson, Chief Investment Officer and Head of Discretionary Portfolio Management, Nomura International Wealth Management
- Caroline D. Pham, Commissioner, United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission
- Lim Ping Ping, Head, Family Advisory and Wealth Planning APAC, LGT Banking Group
- Samuel Rhee, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Endowus
- Jim Rogers, International Investor and Author
- Kalpana Seethepalli, Director of ESG, Asia Pacific, Deutsche Bank
- Tee Fong Seng, Chief Executive Officer, Pictet Wealth Management Asia
- Herbert Suen, Head of Private Wealth Solutions Asia, Blackstone
- Belinda Tanoto, Managing Director, RGE
- Rich Teo, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Asia, Paxos
- Manish Tibrewal, Chief Executive Officer, Maitri Asset Management
- Mark Cudmore, Global Head of Macro Analysis, Bloomberg; Co-Anchor, European Markets Open, Bloomberg Television
- Michelle Jamrisko, Senior Asia Economy Reporter, Bloomberg
- Ishika Mookerjee, Deputy Team Leader, Asia Stocks, Bloomberg
- Joanna Ossinger, Senior Reporter, Bloomberg
- David Ramli, Investing Reporter, Bloomberg
The Changing Nature of Wealth in Asia
Tee Fong Seng, Chief Executive Officer, Pictet Wealth Management Asia, cited demand for competency over relationships, investment success and transparency in pricing and sources. “Investors want to know exactly where the source of value is derived.”
“The Asian consumer is extremely data-oriented,” said Ashmita Acharya, Retail Banking Head, Citibank Singapore. “They’re very open to sharing data. They’re very open to looking at themselves as a segment of one,” she said, explaining how the future of wealth management needs to be hyper-personalized. For her, the shift falls into the “three Ds” of demographic, digital and data.
On the big opportunities in the shift, Seng noted a growth spurt of private banking, with about 700 single family businesses registered in Singapore and 50 in Hong Kong. Acharya said technology will drive access to investments across the board, getting retail investors to their goal of being on the same plane as ultra-high-net investors.
On crypto, Acharya said clients are “staying on the sidelines, as supervisory guidelines and compliance issues are addressed. Seng said it’s an asset class that cannot be ignored, but that there is no place for it in private portfolios right now.
Belinda Tanoto, Managing Director, RGE recalled family finance meetings as a teenager, and now, honing decision-making skills with her siblings; with family wealth grounded in relationships. “There’s no magic bullet. You need to put in the time and energy to make sure the family is in a good place.”
Key things families should avoid, according to Lim Ping Ping, Head, Family Advisory and Wealth Planning APAC, LGT Banking Group are disputes that monopolize the energy, particularly in regards to inheritance. “because the wealth owner is not there to answer for himself,” she said.
Is the family office a fad? Thomas Ang, Global Head of Family Office Services, Wealth Management Division, Credit Suisse said “not yet.” Ang said the next generation in Asia is generally not involved in decision-making. He noted that 53% of family offices say they find involvement easy, but 61% of decisions are made by a single family member.
Looking at it from a purely business perspective, Kalpana Seethepalli, Director of ESG, Asia Pacific, Deutsche Bank noted ESG is now a very commercially sound prospect. “There is a lot of evidence now that shows that companies that are leaders in ESG face a lower cost of capital.” Chances are, they will face fewer regulatory fines and have more market share. She added that ESG is also regulatory- and impact-sound.
Linus Lim, Chief Executive Officer and Head of ESG Investing, PhillipCapital talked about communicating with investors to make ESG a more conventional way of thinking.”We want our investors to understand the opportunities and risks for companies in the ESG space.” Their reports go beyond profit and loss to provide sustainability information for investor-based decisions, what he called, “bottom-up measures.”
First Generation Conversations
On convincing busy, first-generation investors to diversify and think long-term, Manish Tibrewal, Chief Executive Officer, Maitri Asset Management, took a look at factors such as influence and a generational mindset. “No matter how much we talk to them, they will follow what’s trending.” It’s a nascent issue that will mature eventually, he said, speaking further to issues like hesitancy in passing down the torch.
Rachel Lim, Co-Founder, Love, Bonito shared the story of her dropping out of university, and borrowing what she didn’t know at the time was her mother’s life savings to start a brand that now has 19 stores in 10 markets. “Being bootstrapped all the way, over the last 12 years, I always thought to myself, investing is for when I am wealthy,” she said, explaining that having a child changed her mind about long-term planning.
Samuel Rhee, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Endowus said cost-consciousness is not just a young person’s concern, especially during inflationary times. He spoke about building a digital platform that would enhance the user experience in personal investing; addressing the time and cost involved. “The next generation is going to demand a better experience, and demand a much more fair and transparent cost.”
A Reflection on Wealth: In Conversation with Jim Rogers
Jim Rogers, International Investor and Author said bonds, ministocks, and property are in a bubble now and recommended commodity investment during inflation. He spoke to the macro landscape, recession being overdue in the U.S., selling short ahead of an inevitable blow off and the need for knowledgable government policymakers,
Discussion began with the burning question of what the crypto crash signals for future investing. Herbert Suen, Head of Private Wealth Solutions Asia, Blackstone and Vishal Harnal, Managing Director, 500 SouthEast Asia, spoke about focusing on more traditional capital investing, a wider landscape of alternatives and discovering where the value is, even in lean times. “Regardless of the times,” Harnal said, “great entrepreneurs will continue to build phenomenal companies across market cycles.”
On best alternative investment bets, “It depends on who you ask,” Suen said, expanding on the different perspectives between institutional and private investors. Harnal added that increasing expertise is overcoming the “unknown, opaque, and risky” synonyms for alternatives.
On the regulatory side, Caroline D. Pham, Commissioner, United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission weighed in on what’s needed, where regulations are headed and the guidance investors are seeking. She expanded on ways crypto could be brought into the regulatory sector.
Investing in Web3 & Crypto
On crypto, Nanda Ivens, Chief Marketing Officer, Tokocrypto, predicted yet another year of a down cycle, due mainly to geopolitical issues and inflation.
Rich Teo, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Asia, Paxos noted there was a time when geopolitical issues were a boon to crypto, and that he’s completely bearish about crypto now, citing a lack of money and new innovation projects needed for its recovery. Teo described crypto as a unique asset class, where the exchange, the custodian, and the broker are essentially just one company. “No one really knows what you have or what you’re doing,” which is why transparency and other traditional asset management needs to be applied.
“As a VC, I am extremely excited for a bear market, because if you look at the past few cycles, some of the greatest companies were built during a bear market,” Mia Deng, Partner, Dragonfly Capital, who sees it as the catalyst for the next wave of innovation. On guiding clients in the crypto market, she said more institutions are allocating crypto as an asset class.
Wealth in Times of Uncertainty
Asked about the greatest concerns from an Asian wealth management perspective, Jean Chia, Managing Director, Head, Portfolio Management and Research Office, Bank of Singapore, said its risk, in terms of China being at a geopolitical turning point, and positioning it in investment portfolios. “How we invest in China has clearly changed over the last two or three years,” she said, adding, “China, for me, is worth the risk.”
James Cheo, Chief Investment Officer, Southeast Asia, HSBC Global Private Banking and Wealth offered up good news and bad, the latter being that he predicted inflation will worsen in the next few months. “The good news is, I think inflation should stabilize going into year end, because we are seeing the stalling of commodity prices, and wage increases starting to level off with the labor supply coming on very strongly.” Central banks, he said, will still have to increase interest rates, but in a more moderate way..
Gareth Nicholson, Chief Investment Officer and Head of Discretionary Portfolio Management, Nomura International Wealth Management agreed that risk is the big concern, naming China, the macro picture, and security. A look back at the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he said, will show it to be a watershed moment. “I’m not just talking about the conflict, but energy security, food security, cyber security, and particularly for energy. This is going to be front and center and a big opportunity.”
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