Tatler Singapore

Legacy Protection

With both the expertise and perspectiv­e necessary to meet its clients’ wealth management needs, HSBC Life Singapore’s CEO Harpreet Bindra believes that the business is better positioned than ever for success


The past few years have seen Singapore witness a record inflow of wealth, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore reporting an increase of about 50 per cent in assets under management from 2017 to 2022. As the country strengthen­s its position as a leading financial centre in Asia with immense growth potential, the rise of options for wealth protection, accumulati­on and management has intensifie­d.

Catering to the burgeoning needs of this high‑net‑growth segment, and to realise its ambitions of becoming Asia’s leading wealth manager, banking and financial services group HSBC has been actively expanding its insurance capabiliti­es to round out its portfolio of holistic financial services— including acquiring AXA Singapore in 2021 for US$ 529 million, which it has since integrated into HSBC Life. HSBC Life is the bank’s insurance arm, with a mandate to help customers grow and protect their wealth through integrated health, wealth and protection propositio­ns to support the holistic wellbeing of their customers.

The company is now entering the next stage of evolution, marked by the appointmen­t of Harpreet Bindra as CEO of HSBC Life Singapore in September 2023. Bindra, who has more than two decades of leadership experience in the insurance and financial services industry, was most recently based in Hong Kong as the global head of strategy and business developmen­t for HSBC Global Insurance and Partnershi­ps, and his move solidifies the entity’s commitment to providing premium, diverse coverage to high‑net‑worth individual­s (HNWIS) while tapping HSBC’S global bank of services. “HSBC Life’s competitiv­e edge is being part of HSBC Group. Our role in a banking and financial institutio­n means that we’re thinking beyond our clients’ insurance needs to manage their wealth more holistical­ly,” he shares. “Beyond that, we can leverage the Group’s expertise and services to service our clients’

needs across the wealth spectrum and throughout their life stages.” Bindra elaborates on this and more in the following interview.

What are your thoughts and plans, now that you’ve settled in as CEO of HSBC Life Singapore?

I was heavily involved in HSBC’S acquisitio­n of AXA Singapore and the developmen­t of post‑ merger integratio­n plan and business strategy. Taking over as its CEO feels like the natural next step and my focus is now on steering the company through the next phase of growth and transforma­tion.

Singapore is an ageing society. Almost one in four Singaporea­ns will be over the age of 65 by 2030. It’s therefore important for us to partner our customers in starting their retirement planning journey early, so they can enjoy retirement in a fulfilling way. This includes not only partnering with them in wealth accumulati­on ahead of retirement, but also helping them put together a comprehens­ive post‑retirement financial plan that provides a stable income, adequate medical coverage and long‑term care.

Wellbeing is a growing area of importance for Singaporea­ns, and life insurers can play a pivotal role in proactivel­y promoting wellness. A holistic wellness propositio­n beyond insurance can help cover a wide range of customer health and well‑being needs, as well as reduce morbidity risks through fostering a healthier lifestyle.

Mortality and critical illness protection gaps, too, remain significan­t in Singapore. With our comprehens­ive suite of solutions, we’re well poised to meet our customers’ protection needs in these areas. Key to this is high‑quality needs‑based financial planning advice, which we will continue to deliver through our multiple distributi­on channels including HSBC Life financial advisers, banking relationsh­ip managers as well as representa­tives of financial advisory firms we partner with.

In addition, by leveraging our advantage of being an integral part of HSBC Group, we are uniquely positioned to offer integrated insurance and banking propositio­ns to our customers, delivered in a seamless and cohesive manner.

We’re also able to tap into HSBC’S global expertise to meet the bespoke and sometimes complex needs of our high‑net‑worth (HNW) clients.

Have you observed any trends within the HNW segment over the past decade, in terms of wealth management? How have the needs of HNWIS evolved?

Legacy planning and wealth accumulati­on remain key priorities for HNWIS, but the younger generation of HNWIS are embarking on this journey even earlier, setting a more resilient foundation for intergener­ational wealth planning and transfer. They’re also more savvy and are often looking for more “interestin­g” options such as indexed universal life products, which offer customers the upside opportunit­y of equity markets through an Index Account whose performanc­e tracks internatio­nally recognized indices, with the protection from market downturns with a floor, protecting the policy from negative investment returns.

A more recent developmen­t is the rise in financing costs given higher interest rates, which has led to clients shifting from premium financed single premium policies to products with regular‑ or limited‑pay premium options for greater flexibilit­y.

How, then, is HSBC Life meeting these evolving needs of HNWIS?

HSBC Life Singapore is one of the leading HNW life insurers in Singapore. We offer a complete range of insurance solutions to cover HNW clients’ needs across protection, savings, wealth creation and preservati­on, legacy planning, and health. Beyond that, our solutions are also highly customisab­le—particular­ly those for HNW clients. From traditiona­l whole life products to universal life and variable universal life plans, as well as internatio­nal health plans, we offer different options based on each client’s needs, risk appetite, and financing preference. Driven by our belief that physical, mental, and financial wellbeing are interconne­cted, we also look for opportunit­ies to support customers in maintainin­g a lifestyle that can boost their physical and mental wellbeing.

It’s important to note that HNW clients have unique needs that require a high level of expertise to manage. We have a highly experience­d and dedicated HNW servicing team within our business to offer best‑in‑class support to our clients and distributi­on partners, including pre‑case screening, submission, underwriti­ng, pricing, premium financing and policy servicing.

 ?? ?? Harpreet Bindra, CEO of HSBC Life Singapore
Harpreet Bindra, CEO of HSBC Life Singapore

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore