Cut­ting edge in­vest­ment

Lever­ag­ing in­ter­na­tional wealth so­lu­tions off the Bar­clays plat­form

Finweek English Edition - - Offshore investments -

ABSA In­ter­na­tional Wealth So­lu­tions (AIWS) GM Emma Feltham is on a mis­sion to in­tro­duce cut­ting-edge in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties and so­lu­tions for lo­cal clients.

AIWS is a di­vi­sion within Absa Private Bank that can pro­vide the best off­shore so­lu­tions from the Bar­clays Group. Absa is 56,45% owned by Bar­clays Bank PLC and is SA’s largest re­tail bank.

Bar­clays Global In­vestors is the world’s largest in­sti­tu­tional as­set man­ager with as­sets un­der man­age­ment of more than US$1 tril­lion.

Feltham says: “We’re po­si­tion­ing Absa as the pre-em­i­nent wealth man­ager in SA and in the process lever­ag­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties from Bar­clays Bank. Our bot­tom line is to en­sure that clients have ac­cess to a much more com­pre­hen­sive, holis­tic on­shore and off­shore ca­pa­bil­ity un­der one re­la­tion­ship man­ager than was the case in the past.”

Absa Private Bank tar­gets three main cat­e­gories of clients – the ul­tra high net worth, the high net worth, and young pro­fes­sion­als and busi­ness peo­ple with high po­ten­tial and who need more than mere trans­ac­tional bank­ing.

“It’s not all about how much wealth you have built up by now, but what your fi­nan­cial and lifestyle goals are and what you’re do­ing to achieve those goals,” Feltham says.

Typ­i­cally the off­shore needs of clients fall into dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories, she says. “There are those who want to in­vest off­shore for a mul­ti­tude of rea­sons, rang­ing from scep­ti­cism of keep­ing all their money in a sin­gle emerg­ing mar­ket to those ag­gres­sively seek­ing the broad­est and best op­por­tu­ni­ties abroad.

“Then there are those who seek in­ter­na­tional bank­ing so­lu­tions. They may have ex­ten­sive busi­ness in­ter­ests abroad, travel a lot, or have chil­dren study­ing over­seas. They usu­ally want easy ac­cess to their money any­where and to be able to get it ef­fi­ciently and cost ef­fec­tively.”

Feltham, an unashamed pro­po­nent of di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion, says: “Show me any as­tute in­vestor in any de­vel­oped econ­omy who would be will­ing to put all his or her money in a sin­gle emer­gent mar­ket.”

In­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in SA con­sti­tute less than 1% of in­vest­ment op­tions avail­able glob­ally, she says. Also, fewer than 20 South African com­pa­nies count on the Forbes list of the Top 2 000 global com­pa­nies.

Feltham be­lieves the Absa Private Bank propo­si­tion counts for a lot in SA be­cause of Bar­clays’ long-stand­ing rep­u­ta­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally, and its his­tory in SA go­ing back a cen­tury or more.

“Bar­clays has a long her­itage, it is an in­cred­i­bly trusted brand, you know your money is safe there, and it has a record of sound per­for­mance. There is no doubt that South Africans have the choice of a myr­iad of al­ter­na­tives and lots of off­shore funds, but how do they know those are rep­utable and will still be around in five years?”

It’s about goals. Emma Feltham

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