The Philippines’ wealth market has evolved over the years into a vibrant and globally interconnected ecosystem. As the economy has expanded, so too has the wealth of the nation’s families, creating a burgeoning class of sophisticated high net worth (HNW) and ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals.
This shift has been accompanied by a more global mindset among the country’s affluent. Wealthy Filipino families are no longer focused just on their own shores, but are extending their horizons internationally with investments, businesses and family members spread across the globe. Yet, these changing dynamics have resulted in a more complex set of financial needs; issues such as succession planning, international taxation and cross-border investments have become top-of-mind concerns for these families.
With its deep-rooted presence of 148 years in the Philippines, HSBC has long been a trusted partner to the country’s wealthiest families, guiding them through the intricacies of an evolving landscape. “As one of the leading international foreign banks in the Philippines offering a full suite of financial services and access to a global network, HSBC Global Private Banking (HSBC GPB) is well-positioned to support our Filipino clients across their entire wealth journey, encompassing their private, business and investment needs,” says Abhishek Mehrotra, Managing Director, Relationship Management, Philippines, HSBC Global Private Banking.
Providing Comprehensive Solutions
The wealth market in the Philippines is dominated by family-owned businesses, more so than in other Asian countries. These companies face challenges that extend beyond trade and business operations, encompassing areas such as investments as well as estate and succession planning.
HSBC GPB harnesses its deep expertise in advisory and trust solutions to help these families preserve and grow their wealth, and is also able to tap on HSBC’s strong commercial banking to support their clients’ business-related needs, including trade financing and working capital solutions. Furthermore, the private bank leverages HSBC’s international reach, spanning 62 countries and territories globally, to introduce clients to novel business opportunities around the world as well as provide access to liquidity events such as initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions (M&As).
On the investment front, HSBC GPB utilises its comprehensive investment capabilities across multiple asset classes to meet rising demand by its clients for alternative investments, private credit and other emerging opportunities like ESG investments. HSBC believes the transition to a sustainable economy is a multi-decade investment opportunity as sustainable investments are no longer considered the choice of specialist investors and have become mainstream. To support its clients in their sustainability journey, HSBC GPB offers a full range of sustainable and impact investing solutions.
HSBC GPB’s family advisory service is another key aspect of its wealth management offering in the Philippines. The bank helps professionalise family office structures and governance, and organises wealth management, succession and investment activities for its clients. This service also offers flexibility for families to establish offices in various locations around the world, including key financial hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong.
Opening Doors to Global Opportunities
With an increasingly global outlook, wealthy families in the Philippines are also looking for support in their overseas endeavours, whether in their businesses or personal affairs. “Filipino clients have always been very global. Today, even if their businesses tend to be domestic in nature, their desire to go overseas is more pronounced than ever. So, an international bank with a truly global network and deep local understanding is very appealing for them,” says Mehrotra.
Henry Lam, Regional Head of Wealth Planning and Advisory at HSBC GPB, noted that the bank’s on-the-ground presence in markets around the world enables it to provide clients with valuable, real-world insights. “A lot of the advice that we bring to our clients is substantiated by our intimate understanding of those markets. If a Filipino client is keen to invest in India, for example, the beauty is that we have been present in those markets for a long time,” he says.
Supporting Succession Planning Goals
As the founders and leaders of successful Asian businesses begin handing over control to the next generation, many families are seeking guidance to engineer a smooth transfer of wealth. While addressing complex family structures is challenging in the best of times, the relatively larger size of Filipino families adds a layer of complexity that must be managed wisely to maintain family harmony.
To support their succession planning goals, HSBC advises clients through a structured dialogue process, with the aim of enhancing existing plans to accommodate evolving family dynamics. “Multi-branch and multi-generational families across a wide range of ages are not uncommon in the Philippines. Therefore, understanding individual perspectives is important in working with our clients to design a process for deciding each family member’s role when it comes to managing their family wealth. At HSBC, we start this process with advisory, helping the families understand and organise themselves and taking stock not just of their wealth and business, but also their philanthropic goals and human capital,” says Lam.
HSBC then employs its trust company, HSBC Trustee, for execution and ongoing support. With over 75 years of experience in Asia and client relationships spanning more than four generations, HSBC Trustee is well versed with managing family dynamics and supporting its clients in protecting and preserving their wealth across generations and geographies.
Going Big on Digital
As Filipinos are tech-savvy consumers, HSBC GPB is able to employ advanced digital capabilities to more effectively serve its clients by providing increased convenience and accessibility.
Among other solutions, the bank now offers virtual account opening and trading, accepts e-signatures and can hold secure online meetings with clients through HSBC GPB Chat. Meanwhile, HSBC’s Prism Advisory, a portfolio-based advisory and investment service, enables private banking and eligible retail wealth clients to manage risk and test their portfolios against different market scenarios by using data-driven insights and expert guidance to make informed decisions. However, understanding that client preferences remain deeply personal, HSBC equally stresses the role of its human relationship managers and wealth advisers in family discussions.
“Whether it’s an online trading facility, opening an account or exchanging investment ideas, every juncture of our engagement with the clients can happen virtually. That said, we are adopting a hybrid approach where we leverage the best digital tools, facilitated and delivered through intelligent human presence as their trusted advisers,” says Mehrotra.
Going forward, HSBC GPB aims to expand its onshore presence in the Philippines, focusing on tier-two cities and growing its presence in non-Metro Manila areas. Furthermore, the bank intends to bolster its commercial banking capabilities to support clients with their international needs, M&As, advisory and capital market transactions, which would naturally lead to opportunities for the private bank.
In recognition of its success, HSBC GPB has won various industry awards in the Philippines, including the “Best International Private Bank in the Philippines” at the Asiamoney Private Banking Awards 2023.
Says Mehrotra: “As the Philippines’ wealth market continues to evolve and grow, HSBC stands ready to adapt, innovate and provide enduring solutions for the country’s wealthy families over generations.”
The information contained in this article has not been reviewed in the light of your individual circumstances and is for information purposes only. It does not purport to provide legal, taxation or other advice and should not be taken as such. No client or other reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of the content of this article without seeking specific professional advice. Issued by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and HSBC Trustee (Hong Kong) Limited