Omar Shokur, CEO Asia & branch manager Singapore, Indosuez Wealth Management shares his views with Asian Private Banker in ‘The Final Word’, a year in review by the region’s private banking leaders as they share their thoughts and opinions on key issues around industry trends, business performance, investments, regulations, and technology.
Industry Trends | What is the single biggest challenge and the single biggest growth opportunity for your business today?
The biggest challenge is keeping up with technological developments and, somewhat related, adapting the way we discuss and promote our products and services to the next generation. As wealth transfer is increasingly gathering pace, we need to ensure we continue to engage with the new generation in a similar personal, trusted, and intimate way. This applies to technological developments as well. In our view it is important that these developments are complimentary to a very personal service and not a replacement of interpersonal contact. In terms of opportunities, Asia remains the world’s biggest growth engine when it comes to personal wealth, so clearly capturing part of this growth continues to offer attractive business to the industry at large.
Business Performance | Productivity and efficiency matter more than ever in this environment. Over the past year, what key steps have you taken to improve both the productivity and efficiency of the business and, to date, what has been the impact?
We have launched a number of initiatives that will help efficiency, reduce timelines, and increase client satisfaction and productivity. Our credit processes and reviews are one example. Other areas that we are working on include client onboarding and customer relationship management. 22
Investments | What are the key investment themes that your private banking will focus on in 2020?
First and foremost, we are focused on the integration of ESG in many of our products and services. We will further expand the various discretionary mandates that we have on offer and will continue to broaden our alternatives and private equity offering, an area where we have traditionally been very strong. Thematic investing will firmly remain on our menu, where we continue to provide our clients access to long term trends that offer attractive investment opportunities. Examples are biotech, robotics, ageing population, and education, to name just a few. Furthermore, with global financial markets at all-time highs and presidential elections in the United States coming up, it will be a year that requires close monitoring of events, their potential effects on markets, and, related to this, solid risk management — which we pride ourselves on being one of our key competencies.
Regulations | How has your private bank responded to regulators’ increased emphasis on building proper banking culture?
There have been a number of initiatives and developments with regards to banking culture. We have a dedicated culture reform committee that meets on a periodic basis and a specific client feedback mechanism that links staff remuneration and rewards to culture (either positive of negative). Moreover, proper banking culture features as a fixed agenda item on our management team meetings.
Technology | If we can agree that effective private banking relies on banks having a deep understanding of client needs and behaviours, how are you leveraging tech and data to deepen this understanding?
Our core (and in-house) banking system, S2i, is undergoing major improvements in order to make it future-proof and interfaceable with best-in-class, third party fintech solutions. The unit managing the development of our core banking system has been rebranded AZQORE and CapGemini has taken a 20% stake in this venture in order to further accelerate the functional and technological development of the proprietary S2i platform. Our aim is to attract more wealth managers to the S2i solution and to expand capabilities, such as data mining and discovering patterns in data, to help us serve our clients better.
Meet 2019’s industry leaders in the full round up of of Asian Private Banker‘s The Final Word 2019.