Asset Management

Singapore's Vibrant EAM Sector Taps Need For Independence

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 22 November 2022


We interview SingAlliance Pte co-founder Jolene Tan, and president of the Association of Independent Wealth Managers Singapore, about the rise of EAMs, their place in the wider financial space, and what the future holds.

Southeast Asia’s external asset management industry is expanding rapidly and is now a well-established sector, tapping into increasing demand for independent wealth guidance, a senior industry figure says.

This news service recently held its inaugural Asia EAM awards programme in Singapore, and the enthusiasm and scale of involvement is a bellwether of how vibrant this sector is. (We have been tracking and researching the EAM sector for some time. See a research report from 2017.)

“We are seeing more and more Asian EAMs being set up and the business model is getting more accepted,” Jolene Tan, TEP, managing partner and co-founder of SingAlliance, told WealthBriefingAsia in an interview at SingAlliance Pte’s offices in Singapore. The business was established in 2011.

The EAM model presents an alternative and unique option for clients in its level of independence and attention to the personal relationship built. EAMs have the flexibility and access to a universe of solutions without being restricted by a specific bank's product line, Tan said. From the client's perspective, they will value the transparency and alignment of interest of EAMs to trust us to act only in their best interests, she continued. 

Tan is deeply involved in the sector and is now president of the Association of Independent Wealth Managers (AIWM) Singapore, and a member of the Institute of Banking & Finance (IBF) Private Banking & Family Office industry workgroup. Before she founded SingAlliance, she was an RM at Julius Baer. She has also worked at OCBC and ABN AMRO. In addition, Tan is a member of the Institute of Banking & Finance (IBF) Private Banking & Family Office industry workgroup.

“There is a lot more awareness of the EAM model…there were only a handful of us 11 years ago,” Tan said.

A number of forces are propelling EAMs, such as transfers of wealth to the next generation and a younger cohort of HNW individuals, with a demand for more innovation.

Singapore is also ideally placed to capture such trends. 

“It is not surprising that Singapore is a shining star and attractive hub of wealth. There is a lot of wealth that is flowing into Singapore,” she said. 

“The Singapore government and Monetary Authority of Singapore have been supportive in areas such as encouraging family offices to locate in the jurisdiction, and the VCC regime has also shown positive results thus far,” she said, referring to the jurisdiction’s Variable Capital Company regime. (This was formed in 2020.) 

MAS is studying a second iteration of the VCC regime to promote its adoption further. With a growing interest in the alternative space, suggestions of improvements in VCC 2.0 include expanding the scope of asset classes to cover real estate or digital assets. 

“At the same time, it would be good if MAS looks into extending the current VCC grant beyond the January deadline next year,” Tan said. 

There has been a strong adoption of VCCs within various sub-classes – VC, hedge funds and private equity. And there could be re-domiciliation of funds to Singapore from other jurisdictions.

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