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“Be hungry enough to build relationships first”

With volatilities associated with accelerated globalisation present in South East Asia, there is no exact blueprint to counter challenges and headwinds experienced within the financial landscape. These are the reasons why client partnership anchors its weight to help investors steer their investments towards stability and growth. Namrata Singh shares with us her insights into managing wealth.




You have been a relationship manager for nearly 16 years. How do you manage your high-net-worth and ultra high-net-worth clients in Southeast Asia?
I joined the banking industry in 2003. The rapidly changing market situations meant that my work would not be boring. Although I admit that it was an aggressive environment and I had to work and study harder than those before me, my specialty in psychology and building relationships remained my core strength and motivation. It is already rather emotional dealing with people, but it gets more emotional as we are dealing with their money, which can be a delicate matter. Thus, I approach them as a friend or an individual and not as a client. I do not push products. Rather, I manage their wealth and offer solutions tailored to their needs.

So far, I have been very fortunate in my job. I don’t have customers. I don’t have clients. I have friends. I manage their wealth, but also become part of their families, and I treat them as part of my life. Once the relationship is strong, the partnership also becomes strong, as do the assets and investments. So my motto is: “Be hungry enough to build relationships first”.

What are your key business priorities in the architecture of wealth?
I consistently maintain these three key priorities:

  • First, asset-gathering never goes out of fashion, so we must maintain that mindset.
  • Second, we must always be positioned for the next phase of the market. For example, at the end of last year, there were sharp corrections in both equities and fixed income markets. So this year, I was determined to ensure that my client portfolios would ride out that period of short-term volatility and made it a point to position them to benefit from that. In the end the recovery happened far sooner than expected.
  • Third, provide holistic advice. I must address all aspects of my clients’ needs to help ensure that the bank’s Next Generation themes and products are well represented in client portfolios.

What can a wealth planner do to ensure continuity and a smooth transition of wealth from one generation to the next?
I believe in being a good planner. At the start of the year, I map out the plans for wealth portfolios. My clients have followed me for many years. I always approach wealth management with the next generation in mind. I meet them regularly, get to know their family members, and become close to them – I respect them as individuals.

As for the younger family members, I treat them as future clients, not children. By being treated with respect, they naturally turn to me as their confidante and mentor, especially in managing their wealth. When they are young, I constantly drill in them the importance of wealth preservation. Over time or through their own exploration, I eventually earn their trust.

Also, the new generation was born in an era where global news is widely and easily accessible, and digitalisation dominates everyone’s lives. They have more options than ever before and everything moves a lot faster. Thus, this is the gap we should fill by investing in digitalisation and providing up-to-date investment choices for them to access at their fingertips. We will help them plan for their future and guide them along. 

Do you have any tips for managing portfolios successfully?
It is important to understand that there are different parts to a client’s portfolio and therefore different ways to treat them. The core portfolio must be treated as a long-term investment and must always be able to ride through the inevitable periodic storm that hits financial markets from time to time. And then, depending on the client’s risk appetite, it could be supplemented with a tactical component to take advantage of short-term opportunities.

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