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Investment Professionals in Asia Switching to Wealth Management

Posted on September 2020

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This year, there are multiple moves from the buy-side to the wealth management space. Julius Baer and Citi Private Bank, for example, have all appointed ex asset management professionals to join the wealth team. There is an increase in movement from asset managers to wealth management firms. What are the reasons and what are the opportunities?

Wealth Management Has a Continually Growing Opportunity

While asset management has been moving into a more passive, beta strategies, wealth management has a continually growing opportunity. Regionally, wealth management has been rapidly expanding. According to Knight Frank's 2019 Wealth Report, Asia has 8 of the top 10 countries with the biggest growth of ultra-high-net-worth individual worldwide over the next 5 years. This creates unlimited potential as HNWIs are actively looking for investment opportunity even at downtime.

"Rich clients turn to their relationship managers both when the market is growing and when it is correcting, which makes the wealth management space resilient even in volatile periods like the current pandemic," said Abimanu Jeyakumar, Head of Selby Jennings, North Asia. "In these past few months, private bankers have seen unusually large trading and transactional volumes, partly because private bank clients cannot go out and run their businesses."

No matter uptime or downtime, there are still demands for wealth management roles. Hence, this creates long-term job stability for wealth management professionals.

Wealth Managers Directly Interacting with Clients

Compare to asset management, wealth management is allowing professionals to directly interact with their clients regularly. As there are more opportunities to interact, it allows them to build deeper relationships with the investors. As a result, this brings in 2 extra values.

1.     Not replaceable by a machine

Digitalisation is a hot topic everywhere. In the past few years, Financial Services has been focusing on machine learning and AI. While there are different conversation and discussion about if the AI and machine can replace the workforce, hiring managers have already been putting more focus on candidates soft skills. “In a day and age where technology is underpinning everyone’s career in a very quick way, having a role that is synonymous with you being able to build relationships is something that a machine can’t replace,” Jeyakumar says. While wealth management roles rely on relationship building, the machine is not yet able to learn about emotions and relations.

2.    Unleash the future opportunities

Getting a chance to directly interact with the investors - who are the HNWIs - provides an opportunity for the future. Directly interacting with the owner of the assets brings the wealth manager closer to the private family. And this can potentially bring in a bigger opportunity for the family office. Normally, these individuals from wealth family do not want to pay service fees for so many banks. If you are close to the family and prove that you are at their best interest with the track records, it can open doors for a wider range of career growth.

In-Demand Skills for Wealth Managers

However, the talent pool in Asia for wealth management is quite small. Furthermore, only a few have the required skill set for the job. As a result, that opens up the door for hiring investment professionals like multi-asset advisors and specialists in specific assets. This is especially true in faster-growing markets like China, Singapore and Hong Kong, followed by Indonesia and Thailand. And here are some common skills that are required for wealth managers:

  • Personable & Technically Savvy - Aspiring wealth managers need to be both personable and technically savvy. They need to be able to pick up their phone any time of the day, even at the dead of the night, to solve their clients’ financial or investment issues. It is as well essential to learn how to relate to individual investors. Hold a proper conversation on risk and return with individual investors is one of it.

  • Expansion of product knowledge - Asset managers if want to move to wealth management roles, you will have to expand your repertoire of product knowledge: equity, bonds, funds, foreign exchange, derivatives, structured products and Lombard lending etc.

"For professionals who have set their sights on moving to wealth management, you need to understand what skill sets you have that are actually transferrable," Jekayumar advises. "Speak to a specialist recruiter who understands the wealth management sector, they can help you to analysis in a case-by-case basis."

To read the original article, please visit Ignites Asia.

Specialist Wealth Recruiter

Selby Jennings specialist wealth recruitment team is working closely with hyper-growth clients who are looking for business-critical talent. If you want to explore more on the opportunities, reach out to us.

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