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‘Demand for tailor-made investment solutions’

December 2015

Gautam Duggal, Regional Head – Wealth management, Africa, Middle East and Europe and Head- Wealth Management UAE, Standard Chartered Bank, tells Wealth Monitor that Middle-Eastern and African economies will continue to grow at a faster pace than rest of the world which augurs well for growth of wealth in the region

Give us a brief about StanChart’s wealth management services in the GCC/Middle East region. How has been your growth in terms of client base and AUM?
Standard Chartered Bank offers a comprehensive suite of wealth management solutions catering to savings and investments needs of our clients. Our team of wealth management professionals help individuals and businesses to nurture and grow their wealth. We identify the most suitable products for clients from our extensive range of wealth management solutions, and help them make the right investment decisions to meet their financial goals and obligations.
In today’s complex and dynamic investment environment, our team of wealth management professionals assist clients in determining the right asset allocation required to prepare a successful investment portfolio, one that strikes the suitable balance of risk and reward; keeping in mind the financial goals, risk appetite and investment timeframe of our client.
Our team of wealth management professionals will assist clients in designing a portfolio from an assortment, or diverse mix of investments. Diversification is vital in ensuring the risk is kept in check.
Wealth in the region has been growing steadily presenting significant growth opportunities for wealth management firms. The Bank has witnessed a steady growth in number of clients and their wealth in last few years.

What are your key priorities now? How do you plan to get the messages across?
We are very good at helping our clients in managing their wealth, our first priority is to deepen the relationship with our existing clients by demonstrating superior research backed investment advisory capabilities. We will continue to invest in our people, including relationship managers, investment advisors and specialists to enable them to assist our clients in making informed investment decisions. Keeping client at the centre of what we do enable us to offer excellent service and customer satisfaction and we rely to a great extent on our delighted clients to spread the positive word of mouth that helps us win more business.

What is the structure of your service model in the region? Is it any different from other parts of the globe? Do you offer discretionary or non-discretionary wealth management services to your clients here?
We follow a customer-centric approach to wealth management business and have designed solutions that cater to private banking, priority banking and corporate & commercial banking client segments. Strong emphasis on research-backed advisory model is central to our wealth management proposition in the markets we serve today globally.
We offer both discretionary and non-discretionary solutions to our Private Banking clients.

What will determine the sustainability and success of wealth management businesses in UAE and the region?
We believe Middle-Eastern and African economies will continue to grow at a faster pace than rest of the world and which augurs well for growth of wealth in the region. Wealth management industry continues to benefit from vast wealth in the region and there is a continuous demand for tailor-made investment solutions that meets client investment needs. UAE has emerged as
an international and regional wealth management hub and the industry will continue to benefit from stable economic growth.
Among other factors, progress in establishing Dubai as a hub of Islamic finance and legislative and regulatory reforms will be critical to growth and sustainability of wealth management business in UAE.

How is the way that RMs are engaging with clients changing in the region?
There is a constant demand for innovative investment products and solutions by growing population of High Net worth individuals in the region and we continue to engage with this customer segment at a personal level and continue to practise advisory led portfolio approach.
However, behaviour of mass affluent clients is influenced by rapid strides in technology and increasing digitisation and the ways they interact with their wealth managers is continuously gravitating towards a mix of online and offline interaction. We see this trend continuing in the foreseeable future.

Are wealth management players forced to cut fees charged from their clients as competition hots up?
We continue to work well with our clients on the strength of our research-backed advisory led portfolio approach to manage investments for clients that
helps us differentiate us from the competition.

Are you offering products suitable to the investment needs of a large expat population from diverse nationalities in the UAE and the region?
Unique and diverse mix of expat population of UAE in particular and region in general presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Thanks to our open architecture model, we are able to design and deliver investments solutions that cater to the unique needs of clients in the region, by partnering with the most appropriate financial services product manufacturers.

Are there any particular behavioural characteristics of UAE and regional investors that you observe?
Amongst mass affluent client segment, the need to save for the rainy day and retirement is one of the dominant behavioural phenomenon we observe in the region, as there is no social security infrastructure in place. HNWIs are however, concerned about protection of capital and estate.

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