UBP is further sharpening its focus on its product and service offerings to continue to win in a crowded Asian market, explains Aman Dhingra, the Swiss boutique’s head of advisory in Singapore. “UBP stands out from other banks because of three core pillars of expertise: direct investments, strength in hedge funds and backward integration into asset management,” he explains.
These pillars have served UBP in the region, as seen in its success in delivering portfolios which are truly diversified. UBP has outperformed most of its peers in Asia when it comes to the proportion of client assets in advisory and discretionary portfolios. At more than 30%, this is well-above industry average in the region. However, Dhingra notes that it is important for the bank to forge its own way forward as it continues to grow, and to avoid the path of many industry players that lack focus and simply continue to offer new products.
“The industry is evolving, particularly around the provision of investment advice and services. We must be cognizant of this and respond swiftly, and with appropriate services to stay ahead,” shares Dhingra.
“As part of our efforts, we are currently launching a revamped advisory proposition with wider coverage and more enhanced portfolio tools,” he adds.
A different path to success
For Dhingra, who leads a team of multi-asset advisers providing clients with guidance on their investment portfolios through bespoke advisory mandates, this has led to a number of success stories for clients.
For example, the firm recently spearheaded a US real estate deal involving assets leased to the US government.
“That was an interesting situation because it involved a safe tenant with mature properties. It was a yield play that was reasonably attractive given the quality of assets clients were accessing,” he explains.
In another deal prior, UBP was involved in brokering an aircraft purchase and leasing transaction. The bank’s clients collectively bought a commercial aircraft, which was leased to an airline
“These are the type of direct investment deals we can create,” says Dhingra. “In this way, UBP’s offering of direct investment is highly differentiated to the [run-of-the-mill] products offered by many banks.”
Attracted to alternatives
Dhingra also believes that UBP’s legacy in the hedge funds and broader alternatives segments is enabling the bank to further tap into the growing wealth in the region.