Prime Con­tacts

First-rate ac­cess to op­por­tu­ni­ties in main­land China is a cor­ner­stone of The Bank of East Asia’s ap­proach to wealth man­age­ment

Hong Kong Tatler - - Tatler Focus The Bank Of East Asia -

The Bank of East Asia (BEA) has en­joyed a red-let­ter year, capped by claim­ing the award for Best Pri­vate Bank in Hong Kong from Pri­vate Banker In­ter­na­tional, where the award win­ners are se­lected by the in­dus­try and cov­ered by an ob­jec­tive news out­let. Since its es­tab­lish­ment nine years ago, BEA Pri­vate Bank­ing has de­vel­oped a full range of bank­ing and in­vest­ment prod­ucts, and earned a ster­ling rep­u­ta­tion as a highly ef­fec­tive fi­nan­cial part­ner.

BEA’S head of Pri­vate Bank­ing, Glo­ria Sun, says the bank has re­ceived the award in recog­ni­tion of its strong pres­ence in main­land China, and the abil­ity of its cor­po­rate and pri­vate bank­ing di­vi­sions to work in uni­son to de­liver a unique wealth man­age­ment propo­si­tion.

“We’ve been trusted by main­land com­pa­nies dur­ing their trans­for­ma­tion from do­mes­tic busi­nesses to multi­na­tional en­ter­prises. We have sup­ported their busi­nesses in China and we’re now sup­port­ing th­ese en­trepreneurs and build­ing the back­bone of their wealth man­age­ment busi­nesses in Asia,” says Sun.

BEA has had a pres­ence in main­land China since 1920. To­day, BEA and its whol­ly­owned sub­sidiary, The Bank of East Asia (China), op­er­ate a net­work of more than 130 branches and sub-branches in main­land China, Ma­cau,

and Tai­wan, giv­ing the bank a reach that places it among the top-tier of in­ter­na­tional re­tail and cor­po­rate banks op­er­at­ing in Greater China. The bank’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial DNA and deep con­nec­tions, in ad­di­tion to its tra­di­tional val­ues, help set apart its ser­vices and prod­ucts and give its clients ac­cess to some dis­tinc­tive in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

New chap­ter

The bank’s gen­eral man­ager and head of Wealth Man­age­ment, Grace Chow, says in­vestors are cur­rently wit­ness­ing “the end of an era” as the US winds down its regime of ul­tra-loose mon­e­tary pol­icy while com­pli­ance re­quire­ments in­ten­sify.

“We’re get­ting back to ba­sics in terms of in­vest­ment strate­gies, and are seek­ing the fun­da­men­tals for our clients,” says Chow.

The bank cur­rently likes high div­i­dend stocks and con­vert­ible bonds as in­vest­ments for the medium term, and is de­vel­op­ing themes for clients based on main­land en­vi­ron­ment and in­fra­struc­ture plays, as well as global in­vest­ments in shale gas and ro­bot­ics.

While there is an emerg­ing trend to­wards risk-off in­vest­ments, in­clud­ing bonds, Chow says there are op­por­tu­ni­ties to achieve po­ten­tial dou­ble-digit re­turns with rel­a­tively low vo­latil­ity. For ex­am­ple, this can be achieved through in­vest­ing in cur­rency-un­hedged lever­aged Cer­tifi­cates of De­posit and bonds is­sued by ma­jor banks and large cor­po­rates in main­land China. Clients should as­sess their risk ap­petite and abil­ity to try to achieve mean­ing­ful re­turns.

While the price of th­ese fixed-in­ter­est prod­ucts can fluc­tu­ate, they are gen­er­ally fairly sta­ble and the re­turns typ­i­cally ex­ceed that of term de­posits. BEA of­fers clients a wide range of in­vest­ment prod­ucts, and tai­lors its of­fer­ing ac­cord­ing to each client’s risk ap­petite and ex­pected re­turns.

Such timely in­vest­ing forms part of the wealth man­age­ment phi­los­o­phy at BEA.

Sun says the bank prefers to fo­cus on a com­bi­na­tion of in­vest­ments yield­ing reg­u­lar re­turns to de­liver wealth, and trusts to en­sure preser­va­tion of wealth.

She states that the pro­tec­tion of fam­ily wealth through a trust struc­ture is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial but of­ten un­der­utilised by some fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. This also cre­ates an es­sen­tial point of dif­fer­ence: BEA has an in-house team to es­tab­lish and man­age trusts. It also high­lights the bank’s long-term ap­proach to wealth man­age­ment.

With the bank’s con­sol­i­dated as­sets to­talling HK$805.3 bil­lion as at June 30, 2014, BEA is not the largest player in Hong Kong’s pri­vate wealth man­age­ment sec­tor. How­ever, Chow says BEA’S clients have ac­cess to a com­pre­hen­sive suite of wealth man­age­ment ser­vices in ad­di­tion to bank­ing, credit, trust, and in­surance ser­vices. She be­lieves that in mat­ters of wealth man­age­ment, a sound strat­egy and con­nect­ing in­vestors to op­por­tu­ni­ties are paramount. She says the bank’s of­fer­ing to clients is ex­plained by the Chi­nese proverb “small as it is, the spar­row has all the vi­tal or­gans”. Good things, it seems, can come in smaller pack­ages.

Grace Chow, gen­eral man­ager and head of Wealth Man­age­ment Di­vi­sion (left); Glo­ria Sun, head of Pri­vate Bank­ing

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