Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Wealth Management in times of the Pandemic

This is a special feature as part of the India on the Move Series (Season 4), an initiative by Standard Chartered Bank and CNBC-TV18

Published: Jun 16, 2021 04:42:05 PM IST

Wealth Managers share insights on the impact of the pandemic on wealth management and trends to watch out for

Living in the VUCA(Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) world as rightly pointed out by Vikram Hosangady of KPMG, the COVID-19 pandemic has defied the business fraternity and fast forwarded tech adoptions at a neck-break pace.  Amid the uncertainty and disruption, wealth managers are holding clients in good stead, safeguarding their capital find quality havens and addressing their concerns in this challenging scenario.

Mridu Bhandari from CNBC-TV18 engages with some of the country’s formidable names in the wealth management space to decipher the impact of the pandemic on wealth creation, wealth preservation strategies, and the trends to watch out for in the Asset Management business.  The panelists comprised Samrat Khosla, MD and Head, Wealth Management, Standard Chartered Bank, India, Rajesh Saluja, CEO & MD, Ask Wealth Advisors, and Vikram Hosangady, Partner & Head, Clients and Markets, KPMG India.

Samrat Khosla opened the discussion by explaining how Standard Chartered Bank is taking appropriate measures to counter wealth erosion by timely engagement with ultra HNIs in this fragile period of flux.  The Bank has a dual care system which ensures an open communication channel between the customers and the wealth advisors, with an emphasis on prompt advisory services to keep the clients informed and secured.

Rajesh Saluja emphasized how the HNI community is coming off age and is showing maturity and resilience in the face of the pandemic by staying invested, though there have been cases of a fee reduction and movement of investments to the fixed income options.   He further spoke about the Pandemic sparking an interest in investments in the US markets, investments in gold, and the HNI community taking a keen interest in technology through private equity.  Rajesh firmly believes that COVID-19 has not impacted the long-term potential of the wealth management industry.  

Talking about the evolving profile of the HNIs, Vikram Hosangady commented on how the current generation has a gregarious appetite to risk as compared to the patriarchs or matriarchs of the earlier generations.  The new breed of HNIs is experimental in nature and is willing to consider a host of alternative investment opportunities.  They are willing to put their bets on start-ups and are taking up direct investments in those showcasing a promising future.  Samrat went on to highlight the conscientious behavior of HNIs/ultra HNIs, apart from taking risks, how they are also purpose-driven and are displaying a growing affinity towards ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) portfolios.

All panelists agreed on the speed of technology adoption caused by the pandemic and how processes have been streamlined, paperwork barring the physical mandatories have been reduced, thus driving higher efficiencies.  However, Rajesh Saluja cautions that, unlike the West, Indians prefer socializing and hence a hybrid model of human and virtual approach will have to be deployed to service the ultra HNI community.

The panel concluded with each panelist reaffirming the mantras of watchful asset allocation, usage of technology appropriately to serve the customers, and ensuring quality investments.

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