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UBP targets smaller IAM partners in Asia

The Geneva-headquartered bank aims to grow its external asset manager business to 5% of total AUM in Asia over the next few years, said Benoit Barbereau, the bank’s head of external asset managers.
Benoit Barbereau, UBP

As Asia’s wealth investment industry matures, there is more room for development of independent asset managers, Barbereau told FSA. 

An independent or external asset manager is a non-bank wealth manager such as a family office. “They offer services beyond purely investment management, such tax arrangement, real estate and residency and succession.”

IAMs often need back office services from private banks. They may partner with a private bank for specific services, such as custodial or execution of investments.

In Asia, IAMs are far fewer than in Europe. Most of the wealth in Asia is still first or second generation, and traditionally these clients prefer taking full control of their wealth.

Barbereau believes IAMs are expected to increase in Asia as wealth is handed over from first and second generation to younger clients, who need succession and tax services, for example.

“Setting up an IAM business in Asia is costlier than in Europe. The IAMs have to be significantly bigger in scale in order to survive,” he added.

Nonetheless, Barbereau hopes the bank will derive roughly 5% of its $13.14bn AUM in Asia “in the short-term” from the IAM segment. To achieve this, its local team is primarily looking for partnerships with new IAMs.

“Our focus is to attempt to seek younger partners betting on their future growth,” he added.

The existing big name IAMs are already using private bank services. “With them, the only hope is that they send you the part of new business they are exploring,” he explained.

“There is no reason that they would transfer their account from one custodian to another. Perhaps, they can benefit from long-standing relationship and good pricing conditions.”

Part of the Mark Allen Group.