Cutting edge investment
Leveraging international wealth solutions off the Barclays platform
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