Weneed to take more of an active role in voting against certain positions, when boards are not fully representative


unreasonable requests” regularly exposed the flimsiness of private banking structures. A decade later, the challenges

have intensified. “Private banks must be careful what they wish for,” says Mr Aquilina, who also held senior roles at HSBC and Merrill Lynch. “Most of these families are still active. They are less interested in an extra 2 or 3 per cent return on portfolios than asking how you as an institution can help them in their business.” This starts with financing loans,

including specialism in derivative structures, capital protection and foreign exchange, all requiring investment banking expertise. Banks looking to combine these specialisms with their ability to service the top tier of family clients, although improving, still face an uphill struggle. Today, the notion of honing a

crack team of top bankers dealing with 100 leading global families is the only way forward, believes Mr Aquilina. “Family offices have their own highly experienced corporate finance staff, so selling mutual funds to them is not what they are looking for,” he says. “Institutions like UBS and Credit

Suisse are increasingly creating specialised teams to address these family offices, using bankers from the institutional side, corporate finance and trading. This is a trend that will continue. I don’t think it’s reversible, I think it’s obligatory.” But getting this offer right is no

walk in the park, wealth advisers agree. “These banks have been quite successful, working with families across generations and jurisdictions,” says Ed Marshall, global head of the family office and high net worth practice at US law firm Dentons and himself a former

senior private banker at both Citi and Credit Suisse. “Integrating different parts of

the same banking organisation is a very easy exercise to do on a piece of paper. The proof will be in the pudding.” Moreover, it is not a universally

popular model, both among clients and industry voices. Some leading wealth firms believe having an investment bank within the group incentivises the sale of unnecessary products and services, incompatible with a family’s financial needs. “We actually think it’s a conflict

to have an investment bank when you’re trying to be a wealth adviser,” says Northern Trust’s Mr Fox. “You have to wonder which side of the transaction some of these banks are really on at the end of the day.” Northern Trust prefers to bring

together a “knowledge exchange” of 600 wealthy families, sharing “intellectualDNA” via a “vendor- free experience”.

CULTURAL FIT Other banks in different geographical regions believe the cultural fit of bankers ismuch more important than their ability to push products. “In the past, itwas very easy for

our bankers to manage investments on autopilot, with one or two calls each quarter to the family,” says LeeWoon Shiu, regional head of wealth planning, family office and insurance solutions at DBS Private Bank in Singapore. “But in these days of Covid, with things moving at such a rapid pace, itmakes sense to have closer contact with bankers.” The Asian approach to families

differs fromtheWestern, with Mr Lee himself leading the “outreach” tomajor client prospects, before



Technological disruption Insufficient cash flow

Lack of skilled talent

Increasing production costs Sluggish demand

New market entrants Cyber threats

05 10 15 20 25 30 35 2017

Per cent 2018 Source: DBS Private Bank/EY: The Asian Family Office

accounts are allocated to key bankers, based primarily on geographical location and expertise. “Our Chinese teamis fromChina

and wewould allocate one of them with the same values towork with a key client,” comments Mr Lee. “For us, this cultural affinity is paramount. It’s not just about getting someonewho is very senior and very good at investments.We have to find somebodywho can understandwhat clients fromthat region need andwhat is in their interests.” His clients, typically coming

fromChina, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, have been speaking to the bank about a broader number of topics, including educational planning and risk diversification as well as portfolio management.Western clients are also looking to dip their toes in Asian waters, keen to assess the level of expertise available in Singapore, nowmarketing itself internationally as an attractive hub for wealthy


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40