Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Audio – Kuwait Finance House sees silver lining in downturn


lim-boh-soon.jpg Lim Boh Soon, chief executive officer of Kuwait Finance House in Singapore said at the Reuters Wealth Management Summit that he sees the period of downturn in the global economy lasting 18-24 months.

However, he thinks the market sell-off over the past two weeks has thrown up good value and said the Middle Eastern bank will look to raise up to $600 million for three Asia-focused funds next year.  Kuwait Finance House is the Gulf third-largest lender.

What do you make of Lim’s assessment on the global economy? Do you think it is a good idea to start buying into the market?

Click here and hear to listen on Lim’s assessment of the global economy.


Obama has support among the wealthy


feurtado.jpgBarack Obama may be looking to boost marginal tax rates for the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, but that doesn’t mean the wealthy are shunning the candidate, said Richard Feurtado, BlackRock’s head of wealth management in the account management group.
In fact, about 50 percent of BlackRock’s ultra-high net worth clients are Obama supporters, Feurtado said at the 2008 Reuters Wealth Management Summit in Boston.
“People do things for all sorts of reasons, and maybe one of them is financial, but there are many other reasons for people voting in certain ways,” Feurtado said.

A philosophical look at the habits of the super-rich


rtx8vgi.jpgThe credit crisis may be hitting the man on the street hard, but spending by the “other half” on the latest super yacht or Damien Hirst work of art looks set to carry on relatively unaffected.

Super-wealthy individuals in commodity-rich areas such as Russia and the Middle East are reaping the benefits of a five-year boom in oil and other commodity prices.

Audio – Investments for hard times


jen.jpgWhere is a good place to put your money in these volatile times?

Jennifer Tay, Managing Director and Head of Portfolio Counselling Investments for Asia-Pacific for Citigroup says she likes healthcare, infrastructure and utilities.

Click here to listen.

Raj Sriram, global head of the South Asia private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland says to de-leverage and de-risk.

Wealth management competition seen insane, irrational


goldbathtub.jpgThe business of managing money for the rich has become “insanely competitive” and lost its rationality, a Philadelphia-based wealth manager warned. Some very large companies who have been hiring aggressively will find that they either don’t make money or they make less than they could if they invested in other areas, said Al Piscopo, chairman of Glenmede Trust Co. Speaking at this week’s Reuters Wealth Management Summit in Boston, he said that talk about the industry consolidating “is a myth” and that a takeover is often followed a while later by further fragmentation as wealth managers set up their own new businesses. Piscopo also questioned whether some of the big banks were getting too “gimmicky” and becoming more like “life-stage or lifestyle advisers” than wealth advisers.

Rich seen preparing for higher tax era


We may be more than a year away from the U.S. presidential election but the nation’s rich are already getting prepared for a higher tax era by shifting their money into different assets, according to some wealth managers. There is already a lot of concern about the implications of the election and a change in the political and budgetary climate, says Gail Cohen, head of global wealth management at Fiduciary Trust Co. International.

In are: tax-exempt bonds, high-growth stocks, hedge funds, real estate investment trusts and ways of engineering tax-free gifts for offspring.

Greifeld party was “over-the-top on steroids,” planner says


greifeld.jpgBob Greifeld, Chief Executive of Nasdaq Stock Market Inc, does not seem like the sort to party hearty, but in 2004 he did. He organized a week-long trip to Ireland for more than 20 family members, which included custom-written songs, re-creations of a medieval village, and a gourmet menu designed to exclude cream and butter. There were 55 staffers to care for the guests.

Sound elaborate? Just ask the party planner who put it together. 

“That was over-the-top on steroids,” Gregory Patrick told the Reuters Wealth Management Summit. patrick.jpg

Audio – Finding private bankers in unlikely places


holley.jpgWealth management firms, facing a shortage of talented advisers, are recruiting from industries like pharmaceuticals and software, where sales staff have mastered technical issues and used to selling to intelligent people, said Bruce Holley, a partner at Boston Consulting Group.

“You need intellectual capability to handle the discussion and understand the products. But you also need selling skills to interact with the clients and provide the client experience,” Holley said.

Poaching talent to serve the rich


Competition to provide wealth management services is intensifying, and the battle for top talent is leading to increased poaching and a rise in bonuses and other incentives as banks and other wealth managers try to prevent their best performers from defecting. “Somebody who is good in this space is highly sought after,” John Stadtler, a partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, told the Reuters Wealth Management Summit in Boston. Indeed, wealth managers are currently much more likely to poach relationship managers from rivals than train them themselves — part of the problem being that it can take a long time to develop the skills needed to deal with the highly demanding moneyed class. And they need to be served now!!!

Green is the color of…


forest.jpgThe rich aren’t just interested in being nice to the environment, they’re investing and spending money to get their green credentials. From investing in sustainable and clean energy enterprises, to carbon offsets, some think this is just typical first-adopter behavior by the rich – much like how they started using mobile phones (or cars, air flight, electricity) before they became cheap enough for the masses.