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Women in Wealth Management: Three key takeaways

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Asian Private Banker is proud to present its inaugural Women in Wealth Management report.

In this report, we sought to identify, analyse and celebrate companies that are paving the way when it comes to supporting the valuable and unique role that women play in the regional industry.

For the first time, industry practitioners have access to granular details on the private banks whose employment policies and broader strategies are bearing fruit in terms of supporting female talent at both the level of management and recruitment.

Click here to view the full report.

Beyond the data collected, here are three key takeaways from the report.

Catering to female clients

As the number of female asset owners grows, so does the need to broaden the range of views within the business to meet their needs, including supporting female staff internally.

From the client’s perspective, San-San Chan, global market manager, Citi Private Bank, sees women as a growing force in wealth. She believes the most important element in promoting gender diversity and equality is recognition since a diverse team leads to diverse perspectives, which will lead to more balanced conclusions. “Our clients definitely do not fit into a single mould and having that diversity deepens our understanding of clients,” said Chan.

At HSBC, Edith Ang, head of family advisory Asia Pacific, commented that having a female touch in the business creates a fundamental shift in the company culture. When there are tough clients, she explained that, “if you give them someone empathetic and understands where they are coming from, they can arrive at a solution together,” said Ang.

Pamela Phua, CEO Asia at VP Bank, also noticed the two genders offer different perspectives, which is vital in building a business as it helps the business evaluate different points of view, opportunities and risks.

On the family office side, as women now own more wealth, Serena Wong, head of advisory at Kamet Capital and co-founder of Women in Family Offices, expects more actively engaged female advisors allocated to female-led businesses. “That’s exactly why we started Women in Family Offices, to provide that safe space for this to grow and to make sure that this message is visible and heard,” she said.

Mentoring and remote work

Another theme that comes out from the report is how both mentoring programmes and flexible work arrangements can provide significant support for women forging careers in wealth while also supporting their families.

Teresa Lee, head of Greater China, Hong Kong branch at Bank of Singapore, shared that through her experience as a mentor she “learned how to accept advice from the young talents, and how to support them, and how to be a good listener,” she said.

At Pictet Wealth Management Asia, An Hui Ling, managing director and market head, said that to reach true gender equality within the business, the bank should continually identify and develop a pool of talented female professionals who will become the leaders of the next generation.

“Leadership isn’t just about management. It’s about inspiring and making an impact, something everyone can aspire to,” shared Namrata Singh, client partner at Julius Baer.

Standard Chartered’s Lisa Teo, managing director and market head of Taiwan and Singapore, believes working mothers can be equally effective and efficient even when they are at home. “I was very encouraged and very happy that I’m joining an industry and a bank where there is abundant support, especially for working mothers,” said Teo.

Jackie Pang, Hong Kong market head at UBP, commenting on the work-from-home arrangement post-Covid, said “Now you realise, we can do it this way, and it is nice for someone who wants to continue with their career, and do other stuff at once.”

Self-doubt is a key obstacle

Vicky Kong, head of wealth, North Asia and Australia at Citi Wealth, noticed obstacles to female advancements and representation are often self-imposed by female staff, despite the bank’s inclusive culture and environment. Confidence is always the first challenge, especially among her younger female colleagues.

“Believe in yourself, and don’t let anyone else tell you what you can or cannot do. Work hard and over prepare. This will always stand you in good stead,” commented Shafali Sachdev, Asia head of investment services at BNP Paribas Wealth Management.

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