Benjamin Cavalli, managing director, head of private banking South Asia and Singapore CEO, Credit Suisse 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 | Few can deny the importance of Asia’s onshore wealth markets — in terms of asset pools and the need for wealth management from increasingly sophisticated domestic investors. What opportunities do these markets bring to your business, and to what extent will ‘onshoring’ shape your strategic agenda?
Accessing onshore wealth across Asia can be complex due to varied business and regulatory environments in this vastly heterogeneous region.
At Credit Suisse, we believe in having a strong onshore strategy, which will continue to be a top priority for us.
We have been expanding our regional footprint into onshore markets and now have the most diversified onshore/offshore footprint in the industry, and are well positioned to capture opportunities in the region.
Beyond the Hong Kong and Singapore regional wealth hubs, we have built very successful onshore businesses for over 10 years in the largest wealth markets in the region. Since 2017, we have expanded our onshore wealth management services to cover Australia, India, Japan, and Thailand.
We also serve clients based in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan clients through our international hubs.
We are the only true global player that is well-diversified in APAC as we are geographically spread across the whole region.
We will continue to evaluate opportunities to make the most of our well-established investment banking footprint across the region, where it has a decades-long history in most markets. Another key focus is to cement our position as the “Bank for Entrepreneurs” in every market.
Investments | What key investment themes shape your bank’s 2021 outlook — and why?
The pandemic situation has generated more client interest in a professional and dedicated portfolio.
On the investment front, we will continue to stay close to our clients and provide de-risking investment strategies as well as selective positioning in blue-chip equity, gold and investment-grade bond. We often advise our clients not to time the market but to focus on value.
This underpins the importance of having managed solutions as a core part of portfolio construction for sustainable returns, downside risk mitigation and efficient participation in specific markets, sectors or themes. We are looking into a diverse set of investment opportunities, including an ecosystem enabled with the explosive growth trends — global 5G connectivity, China healthcare that is supported by demographic change, as well as education technology that has a strong investment case, as evidenced by its growth during the pandemic.
We continue to build on our annual Credit Suisse flagship private equity programme, which offers a multi-strategy private equity solution that serves as a building block for our client’s alternatives allocation.
Investments | What important steps did your bank take to drive the sustainable investing agenda and to increase access to sustainable investing opportunities in 2020?
We believe that the next drivers of solutions growth at Credit Suisse will sit with our newly formed Sustainability, Research, & Investment Solutions (SRI) global corporate function, which will allow for a more systematic rollout of — and a larger focus on — impact investment opportunities.
Within SRI, our Sustainability Strategy, Advisory and Finance (SSAF) unit combines all of Credit Suisse’s investment activities in sustainable investing around the globe within one organisation, while defining the firm’s sustainability strategy relating to these efforts. They will facilitate investable projects and initiatives that have a positive economic and social impact, focusing primarily on generating solid financial returns for clients.
We aim to include environmental and social considerations in the development of our product and service offerings in order to meet the interests and needs of our clients and to capitalise on business opportunities.
Dedicated specialist units in various parts of our business are developing products and services that generate environmental and/or social benefits. These include investment opportunities relating to renewable energy, climate change and financial inclusion, among others.
In Asia Pacific, our key focus will be on solutions that support Asian SMEs in becoming market leaders in agriculture, healthcare, affordable housing and education. We will continue investing in companies that work towards making a positive impact on the environment, and in particular, the ocean.
Meet 2020’s industry leaders in the full round up of of Asian Private Banker‘s The Final Word 2020.
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