FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Hong Kong, Singapore wealth management take a snag amidst the pandemic

Lockdowns across the region force wealth managers to stay at home.

Private bankers in Hong Kong and Singapore are in distress as the pandemic thwarted their pursuit of millionaires scattered across Asia, where wealth is growing faster than anywhere else, reports Bloomberg.

Relationship managers in two of the world’s largest centres for cross-border money management have focused on a trading boom amongst existing clients, as the lockdowns across Asian markets soiled managers’ plans to travel to China and around Southeast Asia to meet new prospects.

The shrinking pipeline is an increasing worry as COVID-19 flareups in the region keep them largely grounded, say executives and relationship managers.

Already, the likes of UBS Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co have seen the growth of new money in Asia take a hit. And whilst regulators are easing rules that typically require in-person meetings and on-site visits, banks are still catching up with digitisation and some bankers are reluctant to step away from the traditional checks.

"The challenge is the majority of private bankers' business in Asia is coming from offshore," said Benjamin Quinlan, chief executive officer of Quinlan & Associates, a strategy consultant in Hong Kong. "To service clients from another country, you need some physical travel."

Here’s more from Bloomberg.

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