The SEC has asked 26 banks and wealth management firms to come together to upgrade Thai wealth management under an initiative called “Wealth Advisor for All”.
Citibank is the one global bank participating in the project.
Vira-anong Phutrakul, managing director and head of retail banking at Citibank in Bangkok, said the initiative aims to standardise basic wealth management tools used in advisory and provide them to a larger audience.
“For a customer who is not an UHNW with tailor-made advice, [we should create conditions] so he at least has a place where his portfolio can be reviewed vs the model portfolio.”
Additionally, Citi is helping to set some minimum requirements to promote a better advisory. For example, measures to prevent mis-selling or simply avoid bad investment practices.
The regulator wants to promote “a more comprehensive, user friendly investment industry, so Thai people can invest more”, she said, adding that the initiative is also likely to bring in investors who are currently reluctant to use wealth advisors.
The regulator said in a statement that the upgrade is crucial because of Thailand’s ageing population and poor retirement savings. More than half of the members of the provident fund are paid off at less than 1m baht ($30,600) baht.
Financial advisory services would help to increase retirement savings. But outside of high net worth investors, many Thais do not have access to these services.
“In addition, some financial product sellers continue to focus on offering products to increase sales and earn commission,” according to the statement.
“[They] also do not focus on providing advice and offering products that are appropriate to the risks and long-term investment objectives of investors. As a result, investors may have many financial products. It does not help in the long run.”