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Ultra-high net worth banking in APAC: Four key challenges and how to overcome them
Serving UHNWI is challenging for private banks, particularly when it comes to offering a suitable standard of customer service.

November 13, 2018 | Silvio Struebi

Ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) are those with at least $30 million in assets. North America continues to be home to the world’s highest concentration of UHNWI, and the US government’s new tax regulations are likely to persuade more of them to move their money back onshore. Meanwhile, the number of UHNWI in Asia has significantly increased, particularly in China with its steadily rising wealthy population. Markets in countries such as Thailand, India, Indonesia and Malaysia have also attracted banks with their growing pools of UHNWI. As regulations expand and complexity increases, clear focus will be crucial to ensure banks benefit from these changing market conditions and the opportunities they present.

The increasing need for differentiation

Serving UHNWI is challenging for private banks, particularly when it comes to offering a suitable standard of customer service. The increasingly sophisticated UHNW customer base and their professional representatives, namely family offices and external asset managers, not only have stronger buying skills and negotiating power, they also expect more of the bank. They demand better value proposition, good service quality and appropriate offerings.

In order to differentiate themselves and meet clients’ increasing expectations, banks provide exclusive services to UHNWI, such as access to club deals, events or philanthropic opportunities. Private banks set up specialised entities across the globe, which offer international capabilities at a local level and enable UHNWI to receive consistent service. These desks are also able to focus on developing customised solutions that are in line with clients’ needs, such as wealth protection or customised investment advice.

Meanwhile, talent shortage is a growing issue for banks, making it more difficult to hire the right people. It is essential for banks to have teams with expertise in a diverse range of topics such as trus...

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Keywords: UHNWI