Consistent and reliable across its global footprint
Amid a mixed global economic and investment landscape, by leveraging on its size, experience and international reach, Citi Private Bank makes every effort to provide ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients with advice and services to enable them to make the best investment decisions based on the right choices.
Steven Lo, Citi Private Bank Managing Director, Global Market Manager (Hong Kong) says while Citi Private Bank’s principals and objectives to serve clients remain the same, to meet client expectations, reallocation strategies have been designed to both preserve and grow wealth. For instance, Lo says while real estate investments remain a preference for many Asian investors, real estate investment opportunities in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong, have become less attractive as a consequence of the economic downturn in Asia, driven in large part by China’s slowdown and fluctuations in the global markets.
“Our Citi in-house view is that US interest rates will be increased twice before the end of the year, which is likely to place even more pressure on the Hong Kong retail property market,’’ predicts Lo. However, because of its strong US-centric ties, Citi Private Bank has been able to help clients successfully invest in US real estate projects in New York, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Boston. As a widely recognised international private bank, Citi has also provided UHNW clients with exclusive access to a 15-hotel Holiday Inn Express investment project in Australia, which caters to the busy corporate and leisure markets.
“Our clients are looking to diversify, but they are also looking for investment opportunities and advice distinguished by sophisticated strategies and timely information they are unable to obtain elsewhere,’’ explains Lo, who says besides strategic recommendations tailored to individual clients, through its team of global analysts and industry sector experts, Citi Private Bank provides the latest thinking on the outlook for financial markets and the economy. For instance, Lo says Citi Private Bank is able to utilise its global “capabilities in-house art advisors have been helping clients with the due diligence and advice needed to build and finance art collections in the US,’’ says Lo. “With local expertise in place supported by the New York office, this is a new offering for Asia and will provide our clients with another diversified asset class,’’ adds Lo.
With a presence in the world’s key business cities, as part of Citi Private Bank Global Client Programme, Lo says the Bank is able to help Asian clients navigate the complex issues of compliance, regulations and official procedures when conducting financing and business transitions in different countries. It’s a ma tter of leveraging our knowledge and making the connections,’’ advises Lo. With trust earned over many years, Lo says Citi Private Bank is ideally positioned to help clients with the practical and often sensitive issue of legacy and intergeneration wealth transfer. “Our clients will typically have real estate, businesses, liquid investments and collectibles in multiple jurisdictions, and beneficiaries with different tax liabilities, which requires a global presence and deep understanding of structures and systems to help them smoothly transfer wealth from one generation to the next,’’ notes Lo.
To help the next generation of Citi Private Bank clients sharpen skills that are unique to their wealth, Donna Leong, Citi Private Bank Managing Director, Asia Pacific Head of Marketing and Sales explains how the Bank organises regular finance and wealth planning information and networking events. “Our programmes are designed to provide essential knowledge and opportunities to help our clients to be successful heirs to family wealth and businesses,’’ says Leong who points out the next generation of UHNW often have different expectations and preferences than the previous generation. For example, in autumn, Citi Private Bank has arranged for a next generation private equity, venture capital themed visit to Silicon Valley. The Bank has also arranged a networking and information sharing programme in the US for family office professionals, who act as wealth gatekeepers for UHNW families. “We see this as another opportunity to help our clients to achieve their unique objectives through networking and experiencing the personalised service our private bank offers,’’ says Leong.