For wealth managers to be effective in creating the right family governance structure, as well as a succession plan and tailored investment strategy, it starts with a clear value proposition around the offering, says Stephan Repkow, chief executive officer, private banking for Union Bancaire Privee in Asia.
Among the many challenges a lot of ultra-wealthy families in Asia face is: what does governance mean for them? In turn, this impacts capital transmission, business control and, ultimately, succession planning.
To help them tackle these issues, clients are generally bombarded by the many options available for managing and structuring their business and personal matters.
Yet while private banks can help families in various ways by offering multiple services, the starting point needs to be focused on helping them to articulate what the concept of “family” means to them.
“We need to put ourselves in their shoes to identify what is important to them and understand what they want to achieve,” says Stephan Repkow, chief executive officer, private banking for Union Bancaire Privee in Asia. “That can then be turned into a value proposition for them and their family.”
To help families in this way, therefore, private banks need to be clear about the types of services they will provide. This is particularly important given the variety of offerings that have developed to date in Asia – ranging from pure discretionary portfolio management to execution-only transacting to a more structured wealth planning approach, he explains.
“Today, the perception among wealthy families and individuals about what they will get from their bank is quite blurred, as there are many different models and approaches,” says Repkow.
Inevitably, conversations will move on to providing access to relevant investment opportunities. For Repkow, the key to structuring the right proposition is taking the time to understand what each client needs.
“We are not competing with the approach of the larger players in terms of industrialising the analysis of client portfolios and performance, or benchmarking a portfolio,” he explains. “And we don’t approach clients with suggestions in mind about what we want the client to do.”
Instead, as soon as he gets some clarity about a client’s wealth management expectations and ambitions, the service is all about allocating more time to speaking in greater depth to them. “We gather information from the client to enable us to originate something meaningful for them.”
And most of the time, there is a strong appetite to build or grow the legacy of what the wealth originator has achieved, says Repkow. “Emerging wealth is very much engaged across generations, perhaps more so than in more developed markets.”