VIPUL KAPUR, HEAD OF PRIVATE BANKING AT MASHREQ BANK
What are your views on the wealth management sector in the Middle East?
At Mashreq, we have seen consistent growth in our clients and their assets under management with us. We foresee this trend to continue over the next three to five years, especially given that the UAE continues to provide requisite climate and progressive outlook to attract high net worth individuals (HNWI) into the region.
This is also in line with the established research reports, based on which Middle East will experience a strong growth (forecasted) in the wealth management sector, and UAE has been ranked first in the “Top 40 fastest growing HNW cities for the years 2018-2023”.
Where do you see most potential in the UAE?
Legacy planning and transfer of wealth to the next generation will definitely hold the most potential in this market. More and more clients are moving into bespoke portfolio solutions diversifying across the full range of traditional and alternative investments.
As the region attracts more and more international population, and the legal structure evolves, there is still an opportunity in this market for setting up trust services, fund and asset management services, which will further strength its position as a major financial hub.
What are the emerging trends in this space?
We have seen an emerging trend surrounding digital transformation which is gaining importance in wealth management and is becoming one of the industry’s most strategic goals.
A new generation of investors with different expectations and preferences that have been shaped by new technologies, has brought new standards to the industry in terms of how advice and investment solutions are being delivered. That means that the race to deliver the best digital client experience will become even more important and will be the competitive edge for providers.
The introduction of robo-advisor solutions that automate the planning process have gained popularity in recent years, but clients still show a preference for a hybrid model—a balance between automation and help from a human professional.
We have seen other areas being digitally transformed such as client onboarding, faster delivery of relevant information as well as execution of transactions. There is no doubt that this trend will continue to evolve and shape the future of our industry.
What is Mashreq’s current market share and how do you plan to expand this?
Mashreq Wealth Management and Private Banking are leaders in the UAE banking sector and have a global reach with clients across Europe, Middle East and Asia. We have significant assets under management that give us the scale and expertise to deliver a range of solutions for our clients across their investments, forex and lending requirements.
We continue to identify solutions that will cater to the needs of our private banking clientele and constantly invest in innovation, technology, products and propositions.
In terms of investments, where do you see opportunities in the current economic landscape?
We are inching closer towards the end of the current business cycle and that is evident by the number of central banks that have started to reduce interest rates to stimulate their economies. Having said that, we continue to recommend portfolio diversification with higher weightage towards defensive sectors and asset classes.
What are the three main things you keep in mind when conducting business with your clients?
Mashreq has a unique operating rhythm where we provide our clients a team-based approach in managing their wealth. With access to certified relationship managers, qualified investment and insurance advisors, forex specialists as well as client service managers, we aim to deliver exceptional experience throughout the client journey.
We provide bespoke solutions to suit our clients’ needs and requirements, because each client is unique with specific long-term financial goals. As the market evolves towards innovation and digital platforms, we pay extra attention on enhancing our value proposition, building new capabilities and product solutions centred around clients.