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Facilitating Consolidated Solutions To The Client Will Be Important In 2019: Sonali Pradhan, Julius Baer Wealth Advisors

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Sonali Pradhan, Head of Wealth Planning at Julius Baer Wealth Advisors, talk about key trend for 2019 and HNI segment

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What are the key trends to watch out for in the Wealth Management space in 2019? Do you see Wealth Management undergoing a gradual transition from high touch to high tech?

Wealth Management industry is adapting technology across various spectrums.  Apart from enhancing client experience and increasing relationship managers’ productivity, attempts are made to use the technology and artificial intelligence to construct investment portfolios. The wealth Management industry is also automating account opening and various compliance checks. However, there is a hybrid approach in all these initiatives, as human participation cannot be eliminated while catering to the HNI segment.   

Facilitating consolidated solutions to the client will be important in 2019 as clients are no longer looking for multiple specialists. They are looking for varied solutions from their trusted advisors. Eg. providing investment advice is as important as providing intergeneration wealth transfer structures; or assistance in relocation or tax advice is equally important like giving loans. 

In your view, are more ultra HNI’s now inclined to liquidate legacy real assets and move into financial assets? What other key trends have you observed with respect to Ultra HNI’s and their real estate portfolios?

We have observed that many of our clients are inclined to monetize their real assets. They may exist at marginal profits. However, these are not distressed sales. Additionally, there is a considerably reduced interest in acquiring new properties, be it commercial or residential. 

Clients are paying more attention to their inter-generational wealth transition plans. Basic practices like joint holding or nomination are also adopted after due deliberation. Clients who own businesses are keen to understand and implement practices followed by leading business owners- domestic and international, to perpetuate their wealth.

What’s the minimum asset threshold to sign up as a client of Julius Baer? And how does Julius Baer go about acquiring new clients - is it purely word of mouth or do you employ other acquisition strategies as well?

Julius Baer is the only multinational, globally listed private bank in India. We cater to ultra HNI segment of the clients. While we do not have any specific onboarding threshold, we do believe in building long-term relationships and hence expect the clients to invest in our investment philosophy and advisory expertise. Because of the unbiased bespoke advice and efficient services, we have seen that not only the clients and their families avail our services; they also refer their friends and associates to us, which is our main source of acquisition. Our “global Indian” approach is also one of the biggest competitive advantages and has become an important part of the Julius Baer’s emerging market strategy.

Lastly, all things considered - what’s the ideal asset mix for a moderate risk taking ultra HNI at the moment?
Asset allocation is a function of risk assessment, funds requirement and lock-in preferences of the client. Indicatively one can assume a 50:50 fixed income and non-fixed income themed investment options for a moderate risk taking client.


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