Elite SAS team lends strategic muscle to Morgan Stanley’s ‘One Firm’ proposition

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This is a sponsored article from Morgan Stanley.

Vincent Chui
Chief Executive
Morgan Stanley Asia International Limited

Joy Kwek
Executive Director / Head of Strategic Advisory Solutions (SAS)
Morgan Stanley Asia International Limited

In an increasingly interconnected global economy, barriers are disintegrating and Asia’s most successful entrepreneurs now occupy a financial universe where the lines between their family and business matters are blurred.

The objectives of safeguarding personal wealth and nurturing company prosperity constantly overlap, making a ‘One Firm’ approach — where wealth managers and investment bankers work together — a logical and widely accepted proposition.

Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management Asia (PWM Asia), a long-time advocate of holistic coverage and a practitioner of the ‘One Firm’ approach, has created a Strategic Advisory Solutions (SAS) function for Asia’s ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals, corporates, and asset owners.

The new team will drive seamless co-operation between its private wealth management and investment banking arms and take the ‘One Firm’ concept to the next level.

The SAS effort embodies a ‘One Firm’ commitment to covering its most important private clients holistically and is drawing on the bank’s global connections to open doors to a world of opportunity in which the fortunes of family and business can flourish side by side.

Foundations for success

The SAS team operates on three principles:
● Working with UHNW clients to identify corporate finance and capital markets opportunities with the support of their investment banking division (IBD) colleagues
● Referring IBD clients to PWM Asia for access to its global wealth advisory and management services
● Offering what were once considered ‘institutional’ investor products to top private banking clients

Asia Wealth Management head Vincent Chui sees the SAS function as the investment bank’s single most important differentiation factor for clients with multiple levels of need. He reiterates that this is Morgan Stanley’s unique product service offering.

“To achieve this holistic strategy, you need the firm’s top management commitment, you need the organisational structure to support it, you need leaders of those businesses to have the same buy-in, and you need people with the credibility to run that ‘One Firm’ concept,” he explains.

The SAS team is headed by Joy Kwek, who emphasises the relevance of the team to Asia, where family and business interests are so closely intertwined.

“Being able to cover an individual’s personal wealth and corporate needs in one place is very powerful,” she says.

“The way we see SAS working is a two-way referral. SAS gives private wealth clients who are also business owners access to our strong investment banking franchise, providing capabilities of a premier investment bank for all their corporate needs. Similarly, SAS ensures that the clients of our investment bank have access to top wealth advisors to take care of their personal wealth needs.”

She adds that the investment bank franchise “opens doors” for Asian entrepreneurs looking to list their firms or expand internationally and that the ability to extend institutional investor product deal flow to private banking clients is a key advantage.

“Our top UHNW clients have become much more sophisticated. They like to see differentiated deal flow and we are able to leverage on the strong capabilities of our investment bank to bring this to them,” she explains.

A culture of integrity

The creation of the SAS team confirms Morgan Stanley’s commitment to the expansion of its wealth management business in Asia. Having resisted what it calls the “irrational exuberance” in the recruitment market in recent years, the bank has instead focused on selectively targeting the best and most culturally suitable talent.

“To me, culture is the most important thing in the private banking business,” maintains Chui. “We must make sure the bankers we hire have the highest degree of integrity, understand their obligations to the client, and understand the importance of their interactions to the firm’s franchise.”

Backing up Chui’s sentiments, Kwek says that private banking is a marathon, not a sprint and that it requires a long-term approach.

“It takes a long time to build client trust and when I came to Morgan Stanley, I was very impressed with the longevity of most of our relationship managers. People who have been here and who have been successful don’t want to go anywhere else,” she adds.

Connecting the world

Morgan Stanley expects the UHNW segment to continue its significant secular growth in the coming years, particularly in the Greater China region, with more onshore opportunities for international banks as markets such as China and Thailand continue to open up.

Its focus is on offshore private banking at the top end of the market, particularly entrepreneurs in search of a bank that provides global, holistic coverage for their personal, corporate, and family needs.

Morgan Stanley is recognised among entrepreneurs across the region as 大摩 “Dai Mor” — The Big Morgan — a powerful reputation that resonates throughout the community. It is a reputation that not only makes the bank instantly recognisable but also carries great responsibility, Chui reflects.

One of the most persuasive reasons for clients to turn to Morgan Stanley, however, is its US connectivity at a time when some of the largest Chinese IPOs are taking place in New York and UHNW clients throughout the region have family and investment interests in the US.

“The personal and family needs of UHNW clients in China, in particular, inevitably have linkages to the US,” Chui explains. “Being number one in the wealth management business in the US in terms of AUM helps us tremendously. Going forward, that connectivity will make an enormous difference.”

This is a sponsored article from Morgan Stanley.

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