Advice for the Wealthy

If you have the money but not the time or expertise to manage it, turn to a wealth manager
By Tina Arceo-Dumlao

One reason why the rich get richer is that they know what to do with their money, thanks to access to all kinds of information and advice to guide their financial decisions. They pick the brains of consultants, exchange notes with colleagues, surf the Internet or watch business news to keep abreast of the volatile movements in the financial markets.

And in exchange for the commitment to deposit a chunk of their money for some time, foreign and local banks are willing to be yet another source of useful information, even taking on the role of primary financial adviser and estate planner of these moneyed individuals.

These are all part of the wealth management programs offered by a growing number of banks in the Philippines who realize that there is a burgeoning group of Filipinos who have the cash and want to get more out of their investments than just a measly monthly interest.

Banks are exerting extra effort to go after this market because these clients represent a steady deposit base and an elite list that are more likely to patronize their other banking products, such as business loans and even platinum credit cards, with low or even no risk of running away from their obligations.

Competition is predictably stiff and like suitors after the belle of the ball, they woo these high net-worth clients through services and perks, such as concert tickets, movie passes, invitations to members-only events, and a plush, quiet area where they can do their transactions in private. In the end, these cash-flush Filipinos go to those banks where they feel they can get the most for their money.

Now if you think wealth management services are just for the ultra-rich, think again. The minimum entry, while steep for most Filipinos, is certainly attainable for the upper-middle class. If you’re looking for professional financial advisors who can give you more personalized service and access to more sophisticated investments, consider these major players.

HSBC Premier

HSBC is one of the first foreign banks to offer wealth management programs in the Philippines, thus it has been able to attract a lot of high net-worth individuals to its fold. For a deposit of P4 million, you can get access to a suite of benefits that the bank claims are among the best in its class.

For instance, clients of HSBC Premier (www.hsbcpremier.com.ph) do their business in specially designed HSBC Premier Centers that are separate from the regular banking offices. These centers are designed for lounging so clients get access to the Internet, newspapers, and magazines, and are served freshly brewed coffee. And they are attended to by their own relationship manager in meeting offices where privacy is king.

Their designated relationship manager also helps clients draw up a financial plan to maximize the return on their investments depending on their risk appetite and investment objectives. Some clients, for instance, may want to invest more in high-risk stocks rather than fixed-income securities. They may even want to explore opportunities to invest in securities abroad. Whatever their decision, the relationship manager is there to advice or execute their request.

What’s more, if you are an HSBC Premier client, you are recognized for your special status not only in the Philippines but also in over 250 HSBC Premier centers in over 30 countries. You only need to show your card to get the attention you deserve (and are paying for).

Aside from investment services, HSBC also offers special packages for Premier clients such as special concerts and even Ikebana classes and wine tasting sessions. The key, HSBC says, is to provide a combination of services that even people with already a lot of money are still looking for.

Standard Chartered Bank Priority Banking

Standard Chartered’s Priority Banking centers were already eye-catching with their modern interiors, suite of amenities, and hotel-like services. But StanChart further improved on the look and the services through the years. And the four centers in Alabang, Makati, Ortigas, and Cebu are doing their share in reeling customers in.

But wealth management services involve more than just providing elegant surroundings, explains Abigail del Rosario, general manager for customer experience of StanChart. She says that wealth management is really more about providing clients with the best in financial management services.

For a minimum deposit of P2.5 million or $50,000, you can get access to StanChart’s services, such as investment advice through newsletters and through highly-trained advisers. “Our investment people undergo a lot of training to make sure that they give good financial advice,” Abigail says.

Aside from advice, you as a Priority Banking client (www.standardchartered.com/ph) also get a prequalified SCB Gold Card, a customized checkbook wallet if you have a checking account, a welcome gift, invitation to special sales and seminars for you and your family, access to talks on investment and economic briefings, and even free company advertisements in the Priority Banking newsletter.

And since everybody loves a discount (even multi-millionaires), you are accorded special price promotions in hotels, resorts, furniture shops, boutiques, and spas, to name a few, all in keeping with the unique lifestyle of the rich and famous.

And in recognition of the mobile lifestyle of top executives and high net-worth individuals, StanChart Priority Banking clients here get access to Priority Banking centers worldwide to ensure seamless service.

Citibank CitiGold Wealth Management

Citibank is focused on helping clients achieve their financial goals and aspirations and for a minimum deposit of P4 million or $80,000, Citigold clients can get all that and more. For Citibank, wealth management involves a careful blend of thorough planning, realistic goal setting, appropriate financial products, informed decisions, and ongoing performance monitoring and evaluation.

One of the key components of Citigold’s (www.citibank.com.ph)approach to wealth management is the Citigold Wealth Planner, a financial needs analysis tool developed exclusively for Citigold clients.

“We use it to assess the overall financial situation, including where they are now and where they want to go. With that assessment, we can recommend the appropriate financial strategy to help them achieve their goals,” says Aneth Lim, head of Citibank’s public relations and communications department.

As a Citigold client, you also have access to a wealth management team that prepares your customized financial plan, assist in reviewing your portfolio, and facilitate the wealth planning session.

In keeping with the 24/7 lifestyle, a Citigold Phone Executive is on hand for round-the-clock assistance from your home and office. You also have full day and night access to your accounts via telephone, ATM, or the Internet. You may also choose to enroll in Citibank Alerts to receive free text messages or e-mail alerts on bank and credit card movements as well as news on financial markets.

You also enjoy Citibank Global Access which lets allows you to make emergency cash withdrawals of up to $2,000 when traveling abroad, and gives preferential rates on foreign currency exchange and access to Citigold lounge areas and meeting rooms in over 250 Citigold centers in 12 Asia Pacific countries.

One thought on “Advice for the Wealthy

  • October 25, 2009 at 9:49 pm
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    i am actually looking for the article (i cant remember wat date it is) that has an advice and has a phone # and address of a govt agency where i could file a complaint on credit cards. I have a UCPB visa years back which i tried to pay in lump sums my bills after successive billing statements. After an agreement with the credit officer that ill pay dues, i did paid in lump sums and havent heard from them nor receive billing after paying it all. After a year or two, with out any statements or written bills, to my surprise, i was called up by the new credit officer and demanded that i got an accumulated unsettled bills again! can you help? Thank you.

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