All articles by Dan Jones

Dan Jones

Korea reforms hit by tough markets

South Korea has been at the cutting edge of banking innovation and its wealth management industry is no different Banks in the country are looking to up their focus on private banking and are doing so with increasingly novel offerings, like HNWI dating services Dan Jones reportsSouth Korea is one of the more mature Asian economies, and one which has a sizeable high net worth individual (HNWI) base for wealth managers to tap

Asian wealth ‘to weather storm’

Although Asia has been engulfed by the financial crisis rooted in the US and Europe, private bankers remain convinced the regions wealth management growth story will live on Dan Jones, author of a new VRL report, Asian Wealth Management 2009, sums up his findings on regulation, recruitment and competition.Every day you open a newspaper you are shocked by what has happened, voiced one private banker at the beginning of 2009, acknowledging that the global financial meltdown is now as much an Asian crisis as it is a Western crisis

A new dawn for Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have, for now, emerged as the two Wall Street survivors in a year which has wiped out Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and claimed the independence of Merrill Lynch. But that victory has come at a price, with both firms announcing in October they had converted into bank holding companies in order to access the Federal Reserves Troubled Assets Relief Programme (TARP), a move which subjects them to far greater levels of regulatory oversight. Morgan Stanley, for one, is taking its new status to heart, launching a retail banking business and hiring CeCe Sutton and Jonathan Witter from Wachovia, both senior retail executives at the US bank which is now in the middle of a takeover by Wells Fargo.

Nordea top of the heap

The Nordic private banking industry, once the domain of a handful of major regional players, could see an influx of smaller institutions in the coming years. The fundamentals of the wider Scandinavian wealth market remain strong. Datamonitor expects that assets under management (AuM) in the Nordic wealth market, which were 400 billion (then $516 billion) in 2006, will rise to 615 billion by 2010.

Moving up the value chain

The pressure on offshore financial centres has intensified in 2008, with many observers calling into question the future viability of the model. But jurisdictions such as the Isle of Man are beginning to see the rewards of a push towards a more collaborative approach. The Isle of Man is trying to move up the value chain of international wealth and trust management, confident it has regulatory compliance in place that distinguishes it from a number of other jurisdictions in a torrid year for the offshore banking business.

Rocking the offshore boat

A normalising of relations with neighbours and an increased openness to the demands of EU membership have seen the jurisdiction of Gibraltar undergo a significant transformation over the past decade, and senior officials are keen to talk up their commitment to the cause.Regulation is a major driving contributor to the success of Gibraltar, says David Purdy, chief operating officer at Gibraltars Financial Services Commission.In a year which has seen an increasing focus on the activities of low-tax jurisdictions around the globe, Gibraltars decision to build its reputation on the back of an attentive yet flexible regulatory environment seems increasingly wise, but is also a likely consequence of the fact that, according to Purdy, any reputational knocks are felt throughout the financial system like an earthquake.Among the companies regulated by the FSC in Gibraltar is Capita Financial Group, the FTSE-100 listed firm

IT advances the order of the day

The wealth management industry is coming to realise that improvements to client reporting systems and client relationship management technologies could represent a more practical way of improving business than hiring or training more employees, reports Dan Jones.More advanced software allowing for the automation of key processes is seen by wealth management executives as the best way of scaling up their business and alleviating risk, ranking ahead of personnel initiatives, according to new research Client relationship managers (CRMs) are already at a premium, particularly within the mushrooming Asian markets, but wealth management firms believe improved technology will enable them to steal a march on their rivals in 2008, US IT software developer NorthStar contends.Attracting and retaining top managers via platform solutions, as well as compensatory measures, is a central strategy for achieving revenue targets this year, according to a study by NorthStar covering 161 wealth management executives from private banks and wealth management companies focusing on high net worth individuals (HNWIs).Strong platformIndeed, the proportion of executives who assert that a strong wealth management platform is critical to growth is on the rise, with 88.3 percent agreeing or strongly agreeing with this statement in the 2008 poll

ETF assets to exceed $1 trillion

Investors in the US and Europe, stung by losses on structured products and cautious over volatile equity markets, are turning to exchange-traded funds as a more transparent way of investing their assets

More Chile as Latin America hots up

High net worth individuals (HNWI) in Latin America now number 400,000 and hold $6.2 trillion in assets, meaning the average wealthy client in the region holds $15.5 million in liquid assets, according to the World Wealth Report (WWR). Collective wealth last year grew by 20.4 percent the highest such figure for any region and the number of HNWIs rose by 12.2 percent. Ileana van der Linde, principal at Capgemini in New York, acknowledges that emerging economies have begun to get dragged down as a result of a lag effect from the financial and economic problems seen in mature markets, but believes that a somewhat slow recovery will nonetheless materialise from 2009 onwards.

Ready for the Floor?

Investors who grew accustomed to years of healthy asset growth will inevitably have been shaken by the collapse in world markets seen in October, and the challenge for private banks is to both reassure clients and successfully recalibrate their portfolios. Dugan, speaking at Merrills expansive City offices, told PBI that the current market turmoil represented the beginning of a completely new phase with regards to the respective sizes of government and the financial services sector.Speaking before the UK government announced plans to recapitalise its financial institutions, Dugan spoke of the panic among policymakers and admitted that one question we cant answer is how policymakers and regulators will react in the long term