with Kathryn Shih
"Our overriding priority is to help our clients not only preserve their wealth but also achieve their desired investment performance"
Helping clients grow their wealth can be a bit like golf, says Kathy Shih, CEO of UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific.
"It’s about setting a goal, determining the right path to get there, staying committed to the shot, then successfully executing it as planned," she says.
"What differentiates us from our competitors is that wealth management is a core business of UBS. It is business that is driven by a commitment to delivering superior investment advice and solutions for our clients’ wealth".
UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific was recently named ‘Private Bank of the Year’ at the Asian Investor Investment Performance Awards 2013. Reflecting on this and UBS’s numerous industry awards, she says, "Awards are a testimony to our belief that the success of our clients comes first, and to our ability to listen to and understand their individual needs and expectations."
Our strong first quarter results resonate with this commitment, showing an adjusted profit before tax of CHF 1.9 billion, and while results were strong across all of the bank’s businesses, Wealth Management delivered the highest levels of quarterly net new money since 2007, and the highest quarterly profit since 2009.
"UBS’s industry-leading capital position is an important factor in our success as one of the world’s safest banks." says Kathryn. At the end of the first quarter, UBS registered a 10.1% common equity tier one ratio in accordance with the Basel Accord (Basel III) reform measures, surpassing the Swiss Basel III capital ratio threshold six years ahead of schedule, and consolidating UBS’s position as the best capitalized bank amongst its peer group.
Trends, growth and innovation
In her 26 years with the bank, Kathryn has witnessed first-hand the proliferation of wealth and investment in Asia Pacific that has catapulted Hong Kong and Singapore to prominence as wealth management hubs. UBS Wealth Management counts Asia Pacific as its fastest growing region and continues to expand our client service from the 18 regional offices across seven countries.
Commenting on the wealth management industry of the future, she acknowledges that investment in know-how and innovation are pivotal to the onward success of any wealth management business.
"Today’s investor has access to real-time global market and financial information through publicly available technology. This means that client advisors have to be able to provide relevant information about global events and all asset classes at any time, while fully understanding the risk profile and needs of the client," she says. "Furthermore, clients are demanding a rapid, yet robust, investment process and an active advisory approach so that they can make fast investment decisions. They need strong research capacity to analyze global and local events."
No other bank can deliver this better than UBS. At the heart of UBS’s investment strategies is a disciplined research-based approach called the Chief Investment Office (CIO) House View. Formulated by a global network of more than 900 economists, research analysts and strategists, all key markets and asset classes are monitored on a daily basis, in order to fine tune their understanding of market risks and opportunities. External specialists are also consulted as part of the investment process to develop a rounded view which takes into account what some of the largest fund managers in the world are thinking.
This information fuels an integrated, systematic and industry-leading investment process whereby clients have access to a high quality range of investment products and solutions in line with the monthly recommendations published by the CIO.
Easy-access to expert information
UBS continuously strives to champion new innovations to further assist clients to grow and protect their wealth.
"The tools we use to provide clients with credible advice and offer them profitable investments are constantly being improved and refined", says Kathryn.
"We want to make sure each client benefits from our CIO recommendations, so we’re in the process of piloting an advisory service called ‘Cornerstone’, which checks clients’ portfolios daily and alerts their client advisor of deviations from their risk profiles and the UBS market views."
"We also want our clients to be well informed with access to first-hand insights from global financial experts. Earlier this year we launched the ‘UBS Wealth Insights’ investment forum in Hong Kong and Singapore where leading professionals and market analysts from around the globe were invited to share pertinent investment views to help our clients make better informed decisions in this fast-changing world", she says.
Investing in knowledge
Owing to our scale and commitment, UBS attracts and retains an enviable pool of high caliber wealth management professionals. "Expert advisory skills and in-depth market knowledge is a clear focus for UBS’s education programs for our client advisors", elaborates Kathryn. UBS Business University Asia Pacific campuses in Singapore and Hong Kong offer comprehensive curricula for client-facing staff with certification programs such as the recently launched Wealth Management Master program and the Wealth Management Diploma training, to establish uniformly high standards in market intelligence and portfolio management. UBS advisors are the first Wealth Managers to receive an external recognition and accredited certification by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) as certified Wealth Management Advisors.
It is this philosophy and commitment to investing in the professional development and continuous education of people that Kathryn, described by Asian Investor as one of the most powerful women in Asia’s wealth management industry, credits to her own success: "I owe a large part of where I am today to the culture of UBS, which embraces diversity and empowers future leaders by investing in knowledge."
Kathryn took the spotlight in a short film: "Asian growth, Portfolio growth", as part of a global advertising campaign to showcase UBS Wealth Management capabilities. With an Asia Pacific focus, the video demonstrates the unparalleled strengths of our franchise in the "growth markets." It illustrates how UBS Wealth Management works to deliver its client promise, featuring actual client advisors on location where our clients conduct their business in everyday life. It was filmed in printing factories, container terminals, and central business districts around Hong Kong. The scenes show how UBS interacts with its clients, always putting them at the heart of the business, and how a dedicated team of wealth management specialists work together, tapping into our in-depth research and global resources to provide financial insights and develop the expert investment advice that our clients expect, whether for their personal wealth, their business, or their family. The campaign runs in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and pan-regional media.
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