Millennial Money: The Future of Finance
It’s never too soon to start putting your wealth to work, say industry experts about wealth management for the young and wealthy. We get five top pieces of advice for young investors and entrepreneurs.
Locate wealth managers speaking your language—and walking the talk
“Look for wealth managers who are targeting your demographic,” says David Levi, a managing director at Accenture. “While the wealth management space is a crowded one and choosing a wealth manager can prove a daunting task, not all of them have built a distinct brand and service offering specifically catering to digital-centric millennials. Virtually all wealth managers understand the importance of appealing to millennials by harnessing technology and adopting new ways of interacting, if they are to stay in business in the future, but not all have acted on it yet.” Do your research and weed out those only paying lip service to the need to reinvent themselves. If convenience is what makes you tick, look for those allowing you to interact through digital channels—whether though apps, chat or video—and outside of office hours.
Be clear and transparent as to what you want to achieve
Once you have found the right fit, you are only halfway there. If you have specific financial objectives and needs, now is the time to spell them out. While wealth managers can help you attain your goals, they can only do so if you help them determine precisely what those goals are. Don’t drag your feet. Spare enough time to run your wealth managers through and be specific about what your needs and objectives are, so that they can offer solutions that fit your own specific circumstances. “It is important to spell out very clearly your financial and non-financial needs and objectives to your professional trusted adviser,” says Antoinette Hoon, private banking advisory partner at PwC in Hong Kong. Keep them informed of any changes in your situation so that their action plan remains relevant to your needs.
Know the family business and cultivate family ties
For those standing to inherit the family’s wealth, developing a firm grasp of the family’s business, wealth and key assets is paramount, says Jennifer Chua, managing director of private wealth for Asia at Manulife Asset Management. To that end, it is important to have an open discussion early on with your parents about the family’s aspirations and legacy. Family businesses in Asia are often an extended affair involving various aunts, uncles, cousins, so maintaining sound relationships with all family members is also critical, according to Chua. Chances are you will have to deal with them further down the line to get their approval for a decision involving the family business. Get to know the family advisers, whether bankers, insurance professionals, accountants and lawyers from an early age, too, Chua advised, to allow for as smooth a transition as possible should you end up at the helm of the family business.
Diversify, diversify, diversify
If you think that diversification is a vestige from the last century, well, you are wrong—the principle should still form the basis of your asset allocation, and this is whether you decide to completely hand over the day-to-day management of your investment portfolio to a wealth manager, or whether you remain the one calling the shots. “Balance your investment priorities having regard to risk, return, liquidity, concentration of portfolio and complexity of products,” says Hoon from PwC. The diversification mantra can perhaps also be applied beyond investments—it might be wise to consider diversifying your banking relationships, according to Hoon.
Stay informed. Knowledge is power—does it even need to be said?
Keep yourself informed and up-to-date with the local and global political and economic environment. Stay curious and keep abreast of any technological developments, as this will help you ask the right questions when dealing with advisers and ultimately take informed decisions. It is also important to stay on top of new and developing regulations affecting the wealth management industry, says Hoon.