This publication takes a walk around the topic of how women are gaining power as earners, creators and stewards of wealth. We talk to VP Bank Ltd Singapore Branch and Hywin Wealth. The firms are research partners to our latest report.
No institution can afford to ignore the burgeoning power of women as earners, creators and stewards of wealth. The imperative is even more urgent for wealth managers in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region as the baton is passed to the next generation of empowered women.
Here, we get a high-level view of this topic from Reto Marx, head of Intermediaries and Private Banking, VP Bank Ltd Singapore Branch, and Madame Wang Dian, CEO of Hywin Wealth, research partners for our latest report, Winning Women in Asia-Pacific: Insights for wealth managers direct from female clients.
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WBA: How would you characterise the women’s wealth management scene in Asia-Pacific currently and how do you see it developing in the near term?
Madame Wang Dian: “The wealth management industry in Asia, traditionally, worked around a matriarch prototype - often characterised by humble roots, fascinating successes in empire building, extensive and sometimes intricate clan dynamics, and suggestions of letting go and passing the baton being brushed aside.
“Such prototypes still hold true today, for many clients, but not for all of them. The great socio-economic progress made by Asian economies in the past three decades meant diversity in clients, which requires a diversity of approaches.
“As women assume leadership roles in industry and commerce, and take driving seats in the affairs of many dynastic families, the classic positioning of wealth managers as ‘humble servant’ should be complemented with ‘loyal regent’, as women look to their wealth managers for true partnership, stronger empathy, and a calibrated ‘devil’s advocate’.
“Professional services firms will increasingly reorient their mindsets and services towards women clients, not as ‘Oh-don’t-forget-the-daughter’ tinkering, but as part of the broader effort to acknowledge and serve all stakeholders in the wealth eco-system.”
Reto Marx: “Having spent two decades in Asia and experiencing its culture, I do support Mdm Wang’s views. In my experience, wealth management (as compared with the affluent or retail segments) has generally been characterised as male dominant. Over the years, women in wealth management have been growing steadily in influence and economic clout, and the same applies for their leadership within the corporate world.
“Wealth management institutions will inevitably need to give more attention to these female investors, recognising their values and motivations to ensure they are adequately served. Through this report, we hope to further deepen the industry’s stakeholders’ understanding of the importance of women’s drivers to provide more tailored and holistic wealth management advice.”
WBA: Female entrepreneurs are a force to be reckoned with in Asia-Pacific, but they do still face challenges. How can wealth managers help women overcome them and power-up their businesses?
Madame Wang Dian: “Women entrepreneurs are actually well placed to thrive in Asia’s commercial world. The symbiosis between business and community, the importance of bringing everyone on board, the criticality of details, and the open mind to hear different views before forming one’s own - these attributes underlie many of the entrepreneurial success stories in Asia.
“Meanwhile, women do face challenges: how to talk to a capital market which is in another jurisdiction, how to embrace tech with shrewd investments into the right option, how to reconcile the clashing claims by stakeholders when a company reaches a certain stage of size and success, and how to take tough decisions quickly when the world moves abruptly and unexpectedly. The list goes on.
“To help women clients handle these challenges, the ‘loyal regent’ is probably the right model, whereby the wealth managers must do more thinking from the ‘principal’ perspective, assume more ownership, align in-house resources for a journey, not merely for tasks, and not just listen, but speak emphatically and candidly, to offer guidance over an extended period of time, and never shy away from hard work and complexity.”