By Xiou Ann Lim
Photo: Wealth in Asia
Michael Blake – who is at the helm of 48-year-old private bank UBP’s business in Asia – shares his reservations about robo-advisory, expresses why “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” when it comes to investing and reveals his own investment strategies.
What is the average profile of your clients?
The majority of our clients are first- or second-generation entrepreneurs. Many are still running a family business, have excess liquidity and usually have commercial or financial interests across different jurisdictions. Over 40% of assets managed by UBP in Asia are for ultra-high-net-worth clients and that is a proportion that continues to grow.
Why should investors engage a private bank over other wealth management service providers?
Private banks have the necessary expertise, financial strength and customised investment approach. When I ask clients how they choose an investment advisor, they invariably look for a long-term relationship manager, institutional strength and the ability to deliver a customised investment strategy – often with leverage.
A private bank is uniquely placed to offer a long-term solution for these requirements. Other providers advise on some aspects, but very few provide a comprehensive service.
Why should investors engage UBP?
Investors who are looking for a pure play private bank with strong investment management credentials should engage UBP. We’re particularly well-suited to ultra-high-net-worth clients who are looking for a customised investment strategy. Our private ownership not only ensures an alignment of interests with such clients, it also enables us to make decisions quickly.
We don’t believe in a passive approach to wealth management – we believe in active management and that’s part of the service UBP provides. We’re now in a period of significant economic change – rates are rising, inflation is increasing and political risk is high. All of these trends translate into potential volatility and make active portfolio management a necessity in the current market environment.
To cater to a younger segment of the wealthy, private banks have started paying more attention to digitisation. Does UBP have any plans for that?
Of course, we continue to watch developments in this space very closely. We already provide clients with online services and have a bank-wide digitisation plan. However, it is important not to forget that – first and foremost – clients are looking for good advice over the long term. That is the foundation of a strong relationship, rather than a nice app.