The Evolution Of A Bespoke French High Perfumery

Henry Jacques’ Paris boutique along Avenue Montaigne

Countless brick-and-mortar stores have been casualties of the digital transformation that has reshaped the retail landscape in recent years, but many consumers at the high end of the beauty market still desire personalized, face-to-face interactions with their favorite brands.

A recent survey by global retail tech agency Outform revealed that more than half of the 2,000 respondents preferred purchasing beauty products in person, with around 40% citing the experience of being in a boutique and consulting with brand experts as being influential in their purchasing decisions.

These findings reflect the thinking that saw family-owned perfume maison Henry Jacques take its first decisive step into retail in 2014, with the opening of an exclusive space within the Salon de Parfums at Harrods in London—a dedicated space to interact with and better serve its discerning clientele.

Founded in 1975, Henry Jacques has forged a reputation for creating bespoke scents of the highest quality. Initially introduced to a small group of private clients, these one-off, bespoke fragrances were created to complement its wearer—to invoke personal memories and emotions, and to become an extension of their identity. Clients were able to have their tailor-made scents housed in uniquely designed crystal flacons, collaborating with the brand’s experts to create an artisanal fragrance that becomes uniquely theirs. 

Anna-Lise Cremona

As the clientele for bespoke offerings grew over the next few decades, an archive of some 3,000 unique scents sporting names such as “Rose Snow,” “Merveilleuse” and “Et Pourtant” was curated, forming the pillars of the maison and building on the legacy of French high perfumery.

Under the guidance of Henry Jacques’ daughter, Anne-Lise Cremona, the move into retail was part of an ambitious plan to introduce French high perfumery to a wider audience. Since taking over the reins of the company in 2011, Ms Cremona has opened the doors of Henry Jacques to more people with the launch of 50 scents during the brand’s public debut—a decision made possible thanks to Henry Jacques’ fragrance archive.

Known collectively as Les Classiques, the 50 fragrances are created in three forms: Les Essences, oils housed in minimalistic crystal flacons and applied directly to the skin with a crystal rod; Les Brumes, a lighter and modern way of enjoying the art of high perfumery with liquids housed in a unique ‘splash and spray’ convertible flacon; and the Clic-Clac, the brand’s take on solid perfumes, which are essentially scents that come in a balm-like form.

Following the success of its first foray into the retail landscape with Harrods, Henry Jacques has brought this curated physical experience to more locations around the world, with eight boutiques opening in cities such as Singapore, Dubai and Beverly Hills.

Inside Henry Jacques’ Paris Boutique

Breaking New Ground

From creating bespoke fragrances for private clients to making its mark on the luxury retail world, Henry Jacques has grown from strength to strength since its founding. That journey continues to this day with the opening of Henry Jacques’ ninth boutique globally in the heart of Paris in May this year. Situated across the river from the Eiffel Tower, the 400-square-meter duplex space is the brand’s first standalone boutique in Paris, on one of the most iconic Avenues in the world—Avenue Montaigne.

This new boutique takes visitors on an exhilarating journey through the world of French high perfumery, where they can observe Henry Jacques’ designers delicately manipulating the raw materials responsible for creating some of the world’s most precious and prestigious perfumes. 

Henry Jacques’ Laboratory

The brand’s artistic director, Christophe Tollemer, has brought the splendor of Henry Jacques’ legacy to life through historic Parisian architecture and timeless charms sprinkled throughout the space. Welcoming customers with a small garden—a rarity along the historic avenue—and colorful flagons within the lab-like interior space, the boutique celebrates the French art of living with classic collections of jewelry, art and historical pieces adorning the walls.

The key focus, however, remains very much on the creation of exceptional scents. A special lounge dedicated to bespoke fragrances allows connoisseurs to compose their personal fragrances in complete privacy during consultations with Henry Jacques’ experts.

Marrying Innovation with Tradition 

As it honors the traditions of French high perfumery, Henry Jacques also continues to push the boundaries of what is possible through a culture of innovation. One recent highlight of this desire to blaze new trails was the creation of the Clic-Clac in 2021, an accessory that houses the brand’s new collection of solid perfumes.

Les Classiques

A sophisticated creation, the Clic-Clac revives the gesture of applying solid perfume; the wearer only needs to pick up a small amount of the scent’s wax on the fingertips, before dabbing it on his or her pulse points. Named after the sound it makes, the Clic-Clac opens with a simple slide to reveal a single circular perfume capsule ready for application, and similarly shuts with ease with a slight push. 

Borrowing techniques from the expertise of Swiss watchmaking, the Clic-Clac was developed after more than four years of development to ensure its longevity before it was able to reach its current standard of patented engineering. The accessory is available in materials such as titanium, carbon and gold, and can house Les Classiques scents in the form of interchangeable solid perfume capsules.

The Clic-Clac

The modernity of the Clic-Clac, and the revived art of solid perfumes, encapsulates Henry Jacques’ vision—the traditional art of French high perfumery enhanced with modern innovations, reflecting Ms Cremona’s keen desire to continue bringing the maison to greater heights in the coming decades.

 

 

 

 

 

www.parfumshenryjacques.com

Leading The Green Finance Revolution In Thailand

Saranya Arunsilp, Country Head, Thailand, Global Private Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC

As the net zero transition becomes top of mind for business leaders and policymakers around the world, affluent investors in Asia are gradually recognising the importance of incorporating sustainable solutions into their portfolios.

In Thailand, high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals and their families are beginning to incorporate ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors into their investment decisions, says Saranya Arunsilp, Country Head, Thailand, Global Private Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC.

However, as the bank ramps up its efforts to educate clients on the importance of sustainable finance, awareness of ESG is growing.

“ESG investments are gaining popularity among Thai investors as HSBC has been educating our clients and offering them relevant sustainable finance solutions,” explains Arunsilp.

“Our clients are starting to understand that sustainability is important for growing their business and investments, but it will take some time before they see the performance associated with sustainable products.”

A more conducive regulatory environment is also expected to fuel demand for sustainable investments. Earlier this year, the Stock Exchange of Thailand introduced a Sustainability Reporting Guide for listed companies, together with ESG metrics for each industry group.

HSBC is well-positioned to capture a big slice of this growing green market as it has established an enviable track record of completing sustainable finance deals in Thailand. The bank recently supported a prominent global petrochemical company in issuing its debut THB10 billion (US$283 million) Sustainability-Linked Bond (SLB). This deal was the largest THB SLB issuance in Thailand. 

HSBC was also the Joint Lead Manager and Joint Bookrunner for the first green bond issued by a Thai policy institution, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives. The proceeds were then used to fund forestry and environmental conservation projects.

In another milestone, the bank introduced the first Green Deposits in the country for two large Thai corporates. The Green Deposit aims to encourage Thai companies to fulfill their sustainability objectives by investing their surplus cash balances with HSBC, which will then be allocated to eligible businesses and projects.

Furthermore, HSBC completed a trio of firsts for a Thai client by executing their inaugural Sustainability-Linked Loan, Sustainability-Linked Supply Chain Financing Solution and Sustainability-Linked Hedge.

A Deeper Presence on the Ground

To more effectively service its HNW and UHNW clients, HSBC opened a new private banking business in Thailand last year. The move is timely as rising affluence in the country is driving demand for wealth planning, investment diversification and international banking.

The expected rebound in intra-regional trade and activity is also expected to lead to the creation of private wealth in Thailand as businesses expand. Against this backdrop, international banks like HSBC—with a global footprint and full range of capabilities to serve the fast-changing needs of affluent clients both onshore and offshore—will have a competitive edge in the country.

In recent years, The Bank of Thailand has also introduced a series of measures to relax foreign exchange regulation and encourage greater flexibility in the financial markets under the Capital Account Liberalisation Master Plan, opening up opportunities for selective offshore investments.

The new private bank is HSBC’s second onshore business in Southeast Asia after Singapore, and will provide Thai clients with access to international capital markets by leveraging its existing infrastructure of advisory, investment methodologies, controls and systems in Asia. The Thailand-based team will cover client management and advisory services, while clients’ assets will be booked in HSBC Global Private Banking in Singapore, a preferred wealth management hub for Southeast Asian HNW individuals.

“We successfully launched our onshore private banking business in Thailand last year, and second onshore private banking business in ASEAN, to offer a distinctive, onshore experience to serve growing wealth needs in Thailand. Our team is able to leverage the HSBC Group’s expertise and global network to serve our Thai friends better,” says Arunsilp.

As private banking is very much a people-centric business, Arunsilp believes that it is important to have a dedicated team on the ground to develop a more intimate relationship with clients, and better understand their unique wealth needs.

The expansion of the private banking business in Thailand is part of HSBC’s broader strategy to grow its wealth management footprint in Southeast Asia and invest in its wealth capabilities as it aims to provide best-in-class products and services for clients, and deliver on its ambition to become the leading wealth manager in Asia.

Giorgio Gamba, CEO of HSBC Thailand and Saranya Arunsilp, Country Head, Thailand, Global Private Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC

Achieving Net Zero

HSBC’s Thai businesses will also play their part in helping the bank achieve its target of transforming its operations and supply chain to net zero by 2030, and to do the same for financed emissions in the portfolios of its clients by 2050 or earlier.

This transition will involve an investment of between US$750 billion and US$1 trillion over the next 10 years. Financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining will also be phased out by 2030 in markets under the European Union and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and in other markets by 2040.

Giorgio Gamba, CEO of HSBC Thailand

“Achieving net zero requires significant changes. The financial services industry has an important role in ensuring that capital is allocated to support projects and investments needed to fulfill these goals,” says Giorgio Gamba, CEO of HSBC Thailand.

“The transition to a net zero economy is the key to unlocking long-term sustainable growth, protecting the financial system from climate risk and safeguarding society,” he adds.

HSBC’s sustainability strategy can be boiled down to three key components: becoming a net zero bank; supporting customers in their transition journey; and unlocking new climate solutions. In doing so, the bank also wants to help transform sustainable infrastructure into a global asset class through the development of a pipeline of bankable projects.

HSBC views collaboration with its clients and other stakeholders as key to achieving its sustainability objectives. Says Gamba: “In partnership with our clients, we will help develop de-carbonisation plans starting with high transition risk sectors. This will allow us to understand how they are incorporating climate change into their business and to identify how we can support their transition.”

 

 


Disclaimer

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.


 

 

Mobilising Wealth For Good

Philip Kunz, Head of Global Private Banking for South Asia at HSBC

“Although the West may have driven many of banking’s evolutions, its future is in Asia,” says Philip Kunz, Head of Global Private Banking for South Asia at HSBC. Kunz’s career in finance spans 20 years in Asia, and he has witnessed first-hand the remarkable transformation of the region’s banking sector.

Backing Kunz’s two decades in the region are roots that stretch even deeper. In March 1865, HSBC opened its doors for business in Hong Kong, helping to finance trade between Europe and Asia.

“HSBC was born from one simple idea—a local bank serving international needs. Since then, we have always been focused on helping our clients around the world capture opportunities. Our purpose remains true to this day, even in a new era moulded by digitisation, Environmental, Social and Governance [ESG] adaptation, shifting trade and supply chains, and rising wealth,” Kunz asserts.

Look No Further Than Home

According to McKinsey & Company’s Asia-Pacific Banking Review 2019, personal financial assets in Asia-Pacific will total US$69 trillion by 2025. “This represents three quarters of the global total,” Kunz says, adding that “two thirds of Asian households will move into the middle-income brackets over the coming decade.”

HSBC is poised to capture this new wealth to become Asia’s leading wealth manager. “To capture the opportunities across Asia, we’re adding more than 5,000 people to our retail and private banking front lines over the next three years,” Kunz reveals. “We’re also improving our digital capabilities and platform, and developing new wealth solutions, particularly for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients.”


“HSBC was born from one simple idea—a local bank serving international needs. Since then, we have always been focused on helping our clients around the world capture opportunities.”


Growing an Intergenerational Nest Egg

With the increase in wealth in the region comes an increase in the number of family offices. “We’re seeing greater interest from Asian clients, who are turning to family offices to ensure a smooth transfer of wealth,” confirms Kunz. “The task of creating meaningful legacies for affluent families is becoming more complex and challenging.

To meet this demand, HSBC set up the new Institutional Family Office in Hong Kong and Singapore last year. The service allows single-family-office clients access to the bank’s investment banking specialists and solutions, on top of private banking benefits.

“We believe that the enhanced coverage will better serve the growing needs and levels of sophistication of family offices, especially with the increased demand for sustainable investment solutions,” Kunz says.

There is indeed a generational change in investment attitudes, and proper management of a family’s legacy cannot be achieved without bridging the gap between one generation and the next.

“The new and rising generation of wealth owners are increasingly driven to influence the world and exert a positive social impact,” Kunz shares. “Our goal is to give this unique group of individuals the support they need to plan strategically for the wealth and businesses they will come to manage or influence.”

Putting Money Where It Matters

Sustainability has become a hot button topic that permeates every aspect of society today. “When people think about going green, they probably don’t immediately think that it has anything to do with the way they bank,” Kunz admits.

In 2020, research by Ernst & Young found that 52% of banks view environmental and climate change matters as a key emerging risk over the next five years. This shift in mindset is one that reflects demand on the investor side, too.

Likewise, going green has become a strategic priority at HSBC. The bank has released ambitious plans to transform its operations and supply chain to net zero by 2030, and to do the same for financed emissions in the portfolios of its clients by 2050 or earlier, in line with goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

It’s a transition that will involve an investment of between US$750 billion and US$1 trillion over the next 10 years. Financing of coal-fired power and thermal coal mining will also be phased out by 2030 in markets under the European Union and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and in other markets by 2040.

“Climate change is a serious concern, especially in Southeast Asia,” says Kunz. HSBC research has shown that out of the 20 cities most vulnerable to rising sea levels globally, 15 are in Asia, of which five are in ASEAN. “This is alarming,” he notes, “because cities are where populations and resources are concentrated. If left unmitigated, climate change can threaten to wipe out decades of hard-won economic growth in Southeast Asia.”

HSBC is taking the initiative to lead the transition to a global net zero economy, not just by financing it, but by helping to shape and influence the global policy agenda.

Among the many regional initiatives it has a hand in are Green Deposits, a programme it launched that puts investor dollars into environmentally beneficial projects and businesses; Indonesia’s Green Sukuk, sharia-compliant bonds that finance climate change mitigation; and a partnership with Temasek in Singapore to catalyse sustainable infrastructure projects, with an initial focus on Southeast Asia.

“A bank like ours has a huge responsibility to lead on climate change—not just for our shareholders, but more importantly for our clients, colleagues and the communities we have been operating in for over 155 years.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

For the Greater Good

Green investing isn’t the only way wealth can be mobilised for good. For clients with more varied philanthropic interests, HSBC Global Private Banking has been helping wealthy individuals and families with their pursuit of important social causes for more than 65 years.

“We believe one’s philanthropy plans and charitable structures belong at the heart of the overall wealth management strategy. In turn, we’ve helped the growth of a thriving philanthropic society.”

Simply put, it is much like an end-to-end solution for investors who wish to do good but are not quite sure how—from helping the client find a focus and drawing out a strategy to running a charitable trust and reviewing outcomes, and the provision of dedicated specialists who will provide guidance, based on sound philanthropic practices, every step of the way.

“A strategic approach, with researched, planned and directed activities built around the issues that the client supports,” says Kunz, “is likely to achieve significantly more for the causes they care about.”

 


Disclaimer

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.

J.P. Morgan’s Goals-Based Planning: Preserving The Legacy Of UHNW Families

Wealth. It’s a privilege. And it’s a responsibility that comes with its challenges. Deciding where your personal priority lies with regard to its use may just be about the most critical undertaking for every ultra-high net worth (UHNW) family across Asia and beyond. This is particularly the case when it comes to determining how wealth should be managed during an individual’s lifetime and the strategies for its transition to the next generation.

Increasingly, many UHNW families are discovering the power of J.P. Morgan’s goals-based planning approach as they seek to resolve such issues. Its appeal is not hard to see—it’s a straightforward discipline that establishes the groundwork for delivering on long-term objectives.

At the heart of this dynamic and flexible practice are four pivotal considerations. First and foremost, there is the issue of purpose, essentially, “What do you want to achieve with your wealth?”

Secondly, there is the matter of stewardship, which seeks to focus the family on thinking about who is best suited to take responsibility for the management of their wealth over the longer term.

As a third consideration, there is a need to decide how assets should be held and how best to prepare them for any future transfer. It could be, for instance, that the founder’s intention is that the ownership of an existing family business is structured in such a way as to provide sufficient flexibility for future generations to decide how to deal with their respective share. Alternatively, the intent could be to ensure that the family business is collectively owned and managed in perpetuity.

Finally, there is the question of horizon—Is there a near-term, mid-term and long-term plan? At the key generational transition points, what are the assets that would be transferred and to whom?


Highlighting the benefits of the goals-based planning approach, Sameer Mehta, Head of Goal-Based Advice of J.P. Morgan in Asia says,

“Essentially, this process allows personal/family preferences to be considered and for a clear route map to be agreed upon by all stakeholders as a means of achieving these predetermined objectives.”

 


Third Party Insights and Consensus-Led Commitments

Finding satisfactory and enduring answers to these questions may require a considerable degree of reflection, but families should also be aware that their aims and preferences may evolve as circumstances change. The perspective of a neutral third party, such as advisors from J.P. Morgan, working alongside family members and their legal/tax advisors, can be of benefit here. This is especially the case when such advisors share their accumulated insights and extensive knowledge of the best practices across their field.

With the right team in place and a degree of consensus achieved, the wealth of the family can be apportioned to such priorities as liquidity, lifestyle maintenance, legacy and the perpetual expansion of an existing asset base. There are also three significant strategic areas that can be evaluated (or revaluated) via the prism of goals-based planning—investing, succession planning and family governance.

When it comes to investing, the framework allows for flexibility to be built into any growth initiatives. It also ensures that the related decision-making process is transparent for all stakeholders.

On the succession planning front, a long-term strategy should be adopted, with bespoke succession structures created to ensure the coordinated management of assets and the seamless transfer of wealth to future generations. The family governance applications, meanwhile, provide a means of ensuring all of the relevant parties remain engaged and informed. This helps minimize potential areas of conflict and paves the way for the formation of an organization dedicated to managing shared prosperity along agreed guidelines—a family office.

Family Office Founding Principles

The desire to establish and maintain a family office is frequently observed amongst UHNW families. Given that every family is different, though, there can be no one-size-fits-all solution, especially when it comes to setting up a Single Family Office (SFO)—a bespoke entity entrusted with managing the various financial and non-financial needs of UHNW family members.

Applying the principles of goal-based planning to define the structure and mandate of the SFO, the first recommended step is to agree on a set of core principles. Essentially, it enables the family to formalize the communication and decision-making process for the wider family network.

With the family’s vision and strategy already agreed in the initial stages of the goals-based planning process, three additional questions need to be asked at this juncture:
1. What functions are required from the family office on an ongoing basis?
2. Who, principally, is the family office there to serve?
3. What services does the family want (and not want) the office to provide both now and in the future?

A Joint Stake in a Shared Financial Future

With delivering clarity one of any SFO’s founding protocols, it can then address such matters as helping mitigate a family’s internal challenges (notably instances where individual family members may have incompatible wealth management objectives or needs) and preparing for any external risks that may have been identified, as well as deciding where outside support is required from third parties. This latter issue often sees specialists in legal, tax or investment sought out and appointed to provide ongoing support to the SFO.

Summarizing the importance of family members taking an active role in both the initial planning process and the formation of a family office, Amanda Lott, the Executive Director and Head of Wealth Planning Strategy for J.P. Morgan in the U.S. says, “When we have a hand in building our financial plans, we have a greater sense of ownership. The very process of building a plan makes it more valuable and drives commitment. It also highlights where the family’s strengths lie and where it is best all round to call upon the skills of specialist third parties.”


Expanding upon this, Elvin Ho, Executive Director and Senior Wealth Advisor of J.P. Morgan says,

“The first recommended step is to agree on a set of core principles, often considered the “North Star” of such an establishment. This underpinning framework should assist the family concerned when it comes to setting the policies that govern the purpose of the office, its investments and the deployment of its resources.”


 

1          LEGACY PLANNING FOR ART COLLECTORS

The passion involved with building a fine art collection shouldn’t preclude a thoughtful succession management strategy.

Given the passion involved with building and curating an art collection, it can be easy to forget it is also an asset requiring thoughtful organization, structuring and, ultimately, succession planning. As ever, the ideal first step is to define your goals—essentially, “What future do you envision for the treasures that you have amassed over the years?”

Initially, it is well worth considering who you would like to pass the collection on to, whether that be an individual or an institution. You also need to decide if you want the collection to stay intact, be divided among your heirs or sold and the proceeds shared with the next generation.

Next, it is prudent to draw up inventory of what you own and where it is located. It is then important to keep all of the related files updated, including any legal documents and dealer insurance estimates.

When thinking of passing a collection on, future costs also need to be factored in. This should include funding for tax liabilities, as well as for any insurance, transportation, storage or repair overheads.

If you intend to pass your art collection on to your children, it is best if you can discuss your strategy with them at the earliest opportunity. If they are too young to participate in any meaningful way, clearly outlining your preferences in your will is the most reliable fallback position.

Similarly, should you wish to pass the collection on intact to a designated institution, it is advisable to start the discussions early. Setting up a dedicated foundation or museum and establishing its governance structure is also best accomplished within your own lifetime.

You may also need to consider whether professional assistance is required in order to optimize the management of the collection.

2          PROTECTING A DIGITAL ASSET PORTFOLIO

Forgetting to properly plan for the succession management of your digital assets could leave your heirs and beneficiaries with a virtual nightmare.

It is easy to think that the term digital assets solely refers to items such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or cryptocurrencies. In fact, the term encompasses a broad array of online account or service protected by log-in security that may be valuable to a family, both from an emotional perspective (such as photos stored online) and in terms of operational needs (notably access to critical email accounts).

Essentially, planning for digital asset succession needs to consider how authorized access to any online account or service, social media platform, cloud storage service or subscription can be maintained following an individual’s demise. This extends to access to online payment processing services, proprietary domain names, medical records and any digital banking accounts.

When looking to safeguard the digital assets of a family, making a detailed inventory is always the first step. This should include a record of the names of all of the relevant accounts, as well as details of the information needed to gain access. It is prudent to ensure all such details, particularly with regards to financial accounts, are accessible by a trusted contact person, an individual identified as a suitable steward for your digital legacy.

Should you fail to factor your digital assets into your succession plan, your heirs may well be either barred from accessing them or face considerable inconvenience when it comes to their recovery. Lack of proper legal planning here could also result in estate or inheritance tax liabilities.

It is also advisable to plan to ensure you always keep up with the latest developments in this fast-developing area. For peace of mind, it’s also best to keep your legal representatives and wealth advisors informed of any new digital activity that could affect your financial status and your family’s future well-being.

3          ENHANCING GOVERNANCE VIA A FAMILY CHARTER

A mutually agreed charter ensures all family members are on the same page when it comes to how decisions should be made with regards to a family’s wealth.

When it comes to ongoing governance, one of the primary issues family members need to resolve is whether they wish to cooperate when it comes to managing any family business or shared wealth. This becomes more challenging when family members live in different jurisdictions, with many of them inevitably having quite distinct wealth management expectations. While some will prioritize liquidity (short-term needs), others may favor lifestyle (spending), legacy or growth.

For many families looking to take a holistic approach to the future, the first step is to define a common mission for their shared wealth, often in the form of a charter that clearly outlines collective intent.

Properly implemented, such a charter can then lead to all parties agreeing to establish other family forums, such as a family assembly or council. These bodies are designed to ensure that a fair and transparent regime is maintained with regards to family wealth-related decisions. At the same time, they are also there to keep family members informed of any relevant issues or developments that may arise.


Advising on how to optimize the effectiveness of this process, Paul Knox, Managing Director and Senior Wealth Advisor of J.P. Morgan says,

“As a means of heading off any potential future disputes, it is important to have as many family members as possible participating in the development of the vision embodied in the charter, while it is also a useful way of gauging who has the appropriate skills/emotional intelligence to take a leadership role in the management of shared assets.”


 

 

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Asia-Pacific’s Luxury Property Sector Set To Soar

Pent-up demand is expected to convert into supercharged activity throughout the Asia-Pacific real estate market this year, with the luxury end of the sector set to do especially well. While a general uptick is anticipated, industry sources have identified a number of individual country markets that are likely to particularly benefit from this improved sentiment.

In the case of Singapore, according to the latest Asia-Pacific Market Snapshot by global real estate brokerage Colliers, demand for bigger and better-quality spaces is expected to be particularly robust, with homeowners willing to pay a premium to secure such properties. The market is expected to be further bolstered by a growing influx of high-liquidity overseas buyers. Throughout the region, it is also expected that greener, more environmentally friendly spaces will be at a premium.

One development that is keen to burnish its green credentials is the Marina One Residences, one of Singapore’s most sought-after upscale living complexes. With its award-winning blend of luxury, spectacle, convenience and unmatched natural harmony, the Residences continue to be the preferred choice for both high-end family living and as a high-return real estate investment opportunity.

Of late, working from home and changed consumer preferences have seen the development’s three- and four-bedroom apartments emerge as its most in-demand spaces, while its penthouses also continue to attract particular attention. Its status as one of the city’s most award-winning green buildings has also proven a huge draw.

Over in the Philippines, according to Colliers, the completion of a number of major infrastructure projects is likely to spur demand. Inevitably, this will hugely reassure investors throughout the sector, while also acting to buoy rental values and reduce vacancy rates.

Benefitting from this renewed market confidence is the portfolio of new properties on offer from Ayala Land, one of the Philippines’ largest developers. Having built its reputation through the provision of superior sustainable developments, this year the company is focusing on a raft of new projects set far from the Metro Manila area.

Among its current flagship projects is Solinea, which offers city resort-style living at the heart of Cebu Business Park. Those in the know are also eyeing The Residences at Azuela Cove, a luxurious planned space enjoying panoramic views out over the Davao Gulf.

With its GDP expected to surge over the coming years, the Philippines is also set for a boom on the luxury residential front. Spearheading this is a canny example of brand extension on the part of Grand Hyatt, which has seen the 50-story Grand Hyatt Manila Residences (GHMR) South Residences acclaimed for its eclectic mix of upscale lifestyle, dining and shopping options, not to mention its 188 designer residential suites.

Set adjacent to the landmark Grand Hyatt Manila and developed by Federal Land, GHMR maintains the level of premium living the five-star hotel is renowned for, while allowing its affluent residents to enjoy it in an ongoing, uninterrupted fashion.

These and other landmark projects signal an exciting year ahead for the Asia-Pacific real estate sector.

Preparing For A Vibrant Cycle

2021 provided some clarity—economies proved resilient, markets resurgent—after the confusion of 2020. As the new year approaches, there are certainly risks to be managed—inflation, labor shortages, a persistent global pandemic.

Fundamentally, though, there is much to be optimistic about. Accordingly, J.P. Morgan’s Outlook 2022 is confidently predicting that a vibrant cycle lies ahead, with a strong foundation already in place.

Indeed, as a result of the stimulus response to the pandemic, household and corporate balance sheets have rarely been healthier, while shifts in how we work and consume are accelerating innovation. It is entirely possible that these dynamics may usher in a far more vibrant economic environment, one that dispels the sluggish growth and weak productivity that characterized much of the 2010s.

These changes could have important consequences for the markets.

Policymaker Priorities are Shifting

Of those changes, the shift in emphasis on the part of policymakers in various global jurisdictions may have some of the most far-reaching consequences. In the U.S., Congress and the White House have spent over US$4 trillion responding to the pandemic, and now politicians are debating spending another US$2 trillion over the next 10 years.

In Europe, too, fiscal stimulus will continue to be a powerful force—a marked contrast to the early 2010s, when fiscal austerity damaged already weak economies. The European Union has agreed to spend more than 2 trillion euros (US$2.3 trillion) through 2027 to rebuild after the pandemic. EU areas of focus include digital innovation, research, climate focused spending, and pandemic preparedness programs. To offset the cost: proposed financial transactions taxes, digital levies and corporate “financial contributions”. Nevertheless, we believe the spending will be a net positive for economies and markets.

On the monetary side, both the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) and European Central Bank (ECB) are committed to generating stronger inflation outcomes with fuller employment. The Fed’s new “Flexible Average Inflation Targeting” regime suggests its willingness to tolerate inflation overshoots to support labor market strength. We expect that the Fed will resist aggressive policy tightening—even in the face of the highest inflation readings in a decade. Similarly, the ECB has also unveiled a new strategy that should remove the assumption that the 2% target was a ceiling for inflation, not a symmetric target.

In contrast to both the U.S. and much of Europe, the picture across Asia is far more nuanced. Many of the region’s developing economies have fiscal space, while developed ones have implemented significant fiscal easing.

However, China, the largest growth driver in the region, has tightened policy in order to rebalance its economy away from real estate.

This, though, is only part of the campaign by Chinese policymakers to rebalance growth drivers and restructure the economy. Their efforts include renewed tightening in the property sector, rapidly shifting internet regulations, ambitious climate change goals and new social campaigns focused on inequality and family values.

Chinese policymakers pursuing long-term reforms and priorities have been willing to do so at the expense of short-term growth. Over the medium-term, markets will likely have to come to terms with the implications of slower structural growth in China. Growth may be more sustainable, but the transition presents near-term risks to the global economy and financial markets.

Can China Finesse a Very Tricky Transition?

For many years, Chinese growth was fueled by easy credit, especially in real estate. Now, growth is slowing significantly. Year-over-year GDP growth in China fell below 5% for the first time outside of the pandemic, after policymakers tightened monetary and fiscal policy to rein in excesses in property markets and to crack down on the digitally enabled consumer sector. In exchange for slower nominal growth, policymakers expect a more sustainable economy driven by middle-class consumption and high value-add manufacturing. The simultaneous pursuit of wide-ranging macro and industrial policies increases the difficulty around policy implementation and introduces downside risks to growth and markets.

Already, the economic and market fallout from this shift has been severe. Opportunities can be uncovered, but we need to consider the full spectrum of opportunities and risks. Remember, too, that while most central banks are either raising rates or debating when to raise rates, Chinese policymakers are probably closer to easing.

China will continue its push toward a modern, high-income economy with world-leading technology, but this path is not assured, and the process will be bumpy. In the long-run, though, the transition could lead to a more durable Chinese economy, one that is marked by higher-quality (if slower-paced) growth.

A New Era of Innovation is Driving Value Creation

Some key drivers that could support higher-quality and more sustainable growth globally in the years ahead are secular mega-trends. The pandemic entrenched some of those mega-trends: digital transformation, healthcare innovation and a greater commitment to sustainability. The question for many will be how to adapt to them and access the opportunities they present.

Digital Transformation

Although the digital transformation process will continue to have a huge impact in many sectors, one in particular is set for unprecedented change. In the auto industry—in many ways the epicenter of disruption—the electrification of the global fleet will prove to be a powerful force. One data point is telling: Electric vehicles have at least four times the semiconductor content of traditional, internal combustion engine ones.

Beyond autos, digital transformation is increasingly common in a wide variety of sectors from finance (payments and the blockchain) to retail (augmented reality), to entertainment (preference algorithms), to healthcare (predictive medicine powered by artificial intelligence). The metaverse could make most life digital, for better or worse.

In another significant development, cloud computing continues to accelerate. Before the pandemic, 20%–30% of work was done in the cloud. Executives thought it would take 10 years for that share to grow to 80%. Now, it could only take three.

In the coming years, we expect the digital transformation of the economy to continue apace: Automation both in goods-producing and service industries will likely increase, possibly catalyzed by shortages in the labor market. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to enable new technologies such as voice assistants and autonomous driving. Companies are investing in innovation at a record pace, and the fruits of these investments can help to underwrite an ever more digital global economy.

Healthcare Innovation

Throughout the course of the pandemic, healthcare innovation has delivered powerful vaccines with astonishing speed. Within the sector, researchers are now looking to see whether the mRNA technology behind many of these powerful vaccines could be used to treat other diseases.

With healthcare innovation set to continue to accelerate, it is anticipated that the industry is likely to become more personalized, more focused on preventative care and more digitalized. Wearables, telemedicine and gene editing are among the other most notable areas in terms of long-term growth opportunities.

Sustainability

2021’s COP26 meeting was one of the most notable developments in climate change policy in recent years. Stronger policy support from the U.S., Europe and China, as well as more frequent and destructive natural disasters, are calling attention to the need for sustainable development.

According to a number of estimates, US$4–6 trillion per year is needed this decade to support efforts to decarbonize the global economy. Furthermore, in order to reach U.S. President Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the energy grid by 2035, the U.S. will need to invest up to US$90 billion per year in new wind and solar generation capacity.

Significant innovation is present in the clean technologies sector, most notably carbon capture, battery storage, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. The circular economy and agricultural technology are areas that merit attention, while carbon offset markets could also present opportunities.

When assessing the opportunities presented by our three megatrends, it’s critical to diversify across regions, styles and sectors. We also can focus on the megatrends’ enablers: cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and semiconductors. A new era of automation not only holds promise for well-positioned individuals and companies, but could also lead to higher productivity growth across the economy, underpinning a more vibrant cycle in the years ahead.

Monitor the Cross-Currents

Against this largely positive backdrop and the many newly emerging opportunities, expectations should perhaps be a little tempered by the scale of some of the challenges that lie ahead. In addition to the ongoing pandemic-derived uncertainty, other issues commonly cited as causes for concern are the changing priorities of Chinese policymakers and rising inflation.

On the inflation front, this is expected to be a short-term phenomenon, with much of the pressure receding as the labor market normalizes and wages recover towards pre-pandemic levels. Similarly, it is thought that the shortfall in the availability of certain products (notably semiconductors), which has been pushing prices up, would diminish as global supply chains more or less resume normal operations in 2022.

Certainly, this normalization process has proven to be more persistent than many expected. The market, expecting a response to inflation dynamics, has brought forward policy normalization and lift-off expectations with regard to the Fed’s monetary policy. Much of what happens on this front will likely be influenced by how the pandemic develops in the coming year, especially in light of the uncertainties caused by the spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant.

Coming to Terms with the Virus

While the path of the pandemic has proven very difficult to predict, investors now take the uncertainty in stride. The bad news is that Covid-19 seems likely to become an endemic disease; humans will have to continue to adapt to it. The good news is that vaccinations, immunity gained from prior infection and new treatments all reduce the risks associated with the spread of the disease.

Currently, over 42% of the developed world’s population has completed the original Covid-19 vaccination program, and booster shots are now being distributed. Most estimates suggest that over 65% of the world has some form of protection against the virus, either from inoculation or prior exposure.

However, more Covid-19 outbreaks are likely, possibly due to new variants. To understand how markets may react, we can look at the U.S. experience with the Delta wave: An unexpected rise in cases battered the stocks of companies tied to mobility (such as airlines) and oil prices. The logic: The more Covid-19 spreads, the less travel is likely to take place, so demand for oil falls.

A more complicated consideration is the extent to which certain countries pursue “zero Covid-19” policies. The longer they do, the more potential disruptions there could be to manufacturing output and global supply chains. During the third quarter, companies such as Nike and Toyota cited supply issues due to lockdowns in places such as Vietnam. At one point, up to 50% of all garment and footwear manufacturers in the country were closed. Port shutdowns in China in response to local outbreaks further snarled global shipping.

More broadly, economic growth forecasts for third-quarter annualized U.S. GDP plummeted from 6% to just 2% throughout the quarter amid disruptions to global supply chains that were exacerbated by the rise in virus cases. Business conditions in East Asia (especially China, Australia and Vietnam) further deteriorated.

Recently, increased vaccine penetration has led to a marked improvement in manufacturing operations, and there are tentative signs that global supply chain issues are starting to ease. Going forward, we expect the virus will continue to have a diminishing impact on economies and markets, even if certain sectors remain vulnerable to an increase in Covid-19 cases.

The Future is Bright

With strong foundations in place, the global economy should emerge from the pandemic era stronger than it was before. A vibrant economic cycle is already underway. Considering the unique dynamics and interplay of economies and markets, better days are ahead of us in 2022.

This article is based on J. P. Morgan’s Outlook 2022: Preparing for a Vibrant Cycle. A full copy of this comprehensive, annual forecast can be accessed here


All source and source dates quoted from this article can be referred to the J. P. Morgan’s Outlook 2022: Preparing for a Vibrant Cycle with the hyperlink added at the end.

ICTSI: A Crucial Partner In The Philippines’ Pandemic Recovery

The Solaire-ICTSI Vaccination Center at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino park in Paranaque was built at no cost to the government as part of efforts to help achieve herd immunity in the country.

With the Covid-19 pandemic upending the global economy and severely impacting international trade, the role of ports as vital economic lifelines has never been more pronounced. Driven by passion to serve its stakeholders, International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI)—with its ports operating 24/7 across 20 countries and six continents—has proven to be a steadfast partner of the Philippines in facing current challenges.

To navigate its way out of the pandemic, the Philippines needs to speed up the vaccination program across the country to revive the economy. No stranger to overcoming headwinds, the Manila-headquartered global ports giant led by billionaire Enrique K. Razon Jr. is supporting both government and private sector efforts in vaccine procurement and distribution.

At the height of the pandemic last year, ICTSI joined the private sector initiative to procure three million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and donated 150,000 doses to the Philippine government. The company also partnered with the government in procuring more than 20 million doses of the first batch of Moderna vaccine to arrive in the country, funding and facilitating the international logistics for the order.

ICTSI also spearheaded the construction of the mega vaccination center at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino park near the Manila international airport, facilitating the efficient distribution and administration of the vaccines to residents of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

With the country’s continued recovery threatened by the lingering pandemic, ICTSI donated an additional 68,300 doses of AstraZeneca to 12 local government units in August. The company is cautiously optimistic that the Philippines’ economic recovery can be sustained now that the vaccination program has made significant headway in the country.

Resilient Performance

ICTSI utilizes technology to help save the environment by rolling out eco-friendly hybrid rubber-tired gantries.

Despite prevailing headwinds brought on by the pandemic, ICTSI posted a resilient performance in the nine months ended September 30, with net profit climbing 73% to US$316.4 million compared to the previous year as global trade recovered across Asia, the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Revenue from port operations increased 24% to US$1.4 billion, while EBITDA improved 29% to US$829.4 million.

“This is extremely encouraging,” Razon said. “The company’s robust financial position provides a foundation to fund capital expenditures entirely through our strong cash flows and continue to grow ICTSI sustainably for the long term benefit of all our stakeholders.”

ICTSI saw robust organic growth across most of its terminals around the world, supported by prudent actions taken by the company at the onset of the pandemic, as well as considerable improvement in trade activities and favorable business conditions across the diverse markets in which it operates.

“We remain mindful that the pandemic continues to create challenges throughout our industry,” Razon said. “We have good momentum to deliver further disciplined growth and we look to the future with confidence.”

Going Green On A Blue Ocean

Contecon Guayaquil in Ecuador handled the world’s first carbon-neutral-certified container shipment on 12 December 2020.

Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, ICTSI is tirelessly implementing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives. The company is moving forward with programs to advance sustainability efforts and push for a greener future.

The company is supporting conservation and eco-conscious advocacies, including the preservation of Palawan—considered as the Philippines’ last frontier—and the cleanup of Pasig River, which connects several municipalities across the Philippine capital. ICTSI’s Manila flagship terminal is also located at the mouth of the river.

ICTSI is also implementing key operational changes to boost energy and fuel efficiency at its ports, while reducing waste, pollution, and carbon emissions. Committed to building a “better normal,” the company recognizes the crucial role technology plays in advancing a more environment-friendly supply chain.

In the past few years, ICTSI has been upgrading its fleet of vehicles to be more fuel-efficient, cutting by half its carbon emissions. The company has also rolled out green initiatives such as eco-friendly wash bays, wastewater recycling facilities, solar-powered warehouses, noise pollution reduction projects, and energy efficient lighting systems at its container terminals.

ICTSI’s Manila flagship terminal replaced its old lighting system with new eco-efficient LED systems.

There is a concerted effort to ensure a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, beyond just going green. Being in the pole position to further this goal, ICTSI sees the future of ports and shipping evolving, leading to a more sustainable and inclusive maritime supply chain. ICTSI has shown it can manage the shift by handling the world’s first carbon-neutral shipment at the Contecon Guayaquil terminal in Ecuador, the first carbon-neutral port in South America.

With its solid performance in port development, strong balance sheet, and far-reaching vision, ICTSI is ready for a more connected, resilient, and sustainable new world coming up on the horizon.

 

Closing The Gap: Reimagining Cybersecurity In The Age Of Digital Acceleration

With the digital acceleration process outpacing even the boldest of estimates, cybersecurity strategies need to be radically reimagined if organizations are to have any real chance of managing the emerging technological risks. Tasked with assessing the scale of the challenge facing cybersecurity experts and professionals, three industry thought leaders turned a keynote session at the CLOUDSEC 2021 event into a high-tech summit, detailing both the priority issues that need to be addressed and the solutions that will ensure success in a future that has arrived much sooner than anyone ever anticipated.

Led by Rich Karlgaard, Forbes Media’s Futurist and Editor-at-Large, the panel saw Dhanya Thakkar, Trend Micro’s Senior Vice President for Asia, Middle East and Africa, and Nilesh Jain, Trend Micro’s Vice President for South East Asia and India, turn their attention to the defining cybersecurity issues of the day, assessing the global state of play while also drawing the focus down to the ground-floor challenges facing businesses throughout the wider Asian region.

Among the wide-ranging array of topics covered during the course of the session were:

Speed of Change

With five years of expected digital acceleration compressed into the last six months alone, how can businesses cope with what is—arguably—the biggest challenge of our time?

Cybersecurity Knowledge Gap

Given the rate of digital acceleration, how can cybersecurity professionals expand both their financial resources and their skillsets in order to ensure they counter any exploitable technological vulnerabilities?

Cloud-Led Digital Acceleration

Why it is important legacy businesses consider a shift towards a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model before they look to commit to a cloud migration that may well be incompatible with their systems, culture and objectives.

The Cybersecurity Bottleneck

With the shortfall in the number of properly skilled and experienced coders unlikely to be remedied any time soon, the need for low-code and no-code cybersecurity software has never been greater. Given the growing complexity of corporate digital infrastructure though, is the current generation of solutions up to the task?

Boosting Security by Building a Culture of Trust

With many in the industry now seeing a direct correlation between a company’s number of security breaches and its number of unhappy employees, is it now time to reassess corporate priorities? In short, does it now add more value to prioritize the well-being of employees above the interests of customers or stakeholders?


Founded in 2011, CLOUDSEC has established itself as the key global forum for cybersecurity experts and professionals. Hosted by award-winning multinational cybersecurity software company Trend Micro, the 2021 event took “Reimagine Your Cloud” as its overall theme and featured more than 100 sessions, cementing its status as the sector’s only truly global thought leadership platform duly enriched by regional uniqueness.

The free-to-view high-level cyber-security summit can be accessed at https://bit.ly/3COSj6d or by scanning the QR code below.

A wider range of video content from CLOUDSEC 2021 can be viewed here:

https://www.cloudsec.com

Paving The Way For A Seamless Succession

The HSBC building, facing the picturesque Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, serves as the bank’s regional headquarters.

With the impending transfer of wealth in the next decade, many high-net-worth families around the world have turned their attention towards the critical issue of succession and legacy planning. The so-called “great wealth transfer” is particularly relevant to Asia, one of the world’s fastest growing regions.

“Wealthy families in the region are dealing with many of the same issues as their counterparts in the West in transferring wealth from one generation to the next, and ensuring that their needs are met across multiple stakeholders with different motivations,” says Steven Weekes, Head of Trust and Fiduciary Services for Southeast Asia at HSBC Global Private Banking. “The key question we help clients answer is: How can we ensure that the family’s wealth and legacy is preserved, to last for generations to come?”

According to recent research by Wealth-X, by the year 2030, it is expected that more than US$15 trillion of wealth will be handed down to the next generation—with much of this wealth expected to change hands within the next five years.

Transition in a family-owned business can be a challenging, multi-faceted process. Families should begin conversations about succession early, encompassing everything from handing over the business, investment goals to values and purpose, Weekes says.

He adds that external advisors may need to be involved in these discussions as independent parties to help address differences of opinions, as well as seemingly divergent concerns and preferences.

Philip Kunz, Head of Global Private Banking, South Asia, HSBC
Steven Weekes, Head of Trust and Fiduciary Services, Southeast Asia, HSBC Global Private Banking

The Role of Family Offices

Clients are also increasingly establishing family offices to ensure a smooth transfer of wealth as the task of creating meaningful legacies for affluent families becomes more complex and challenging.

The family office deals with the organisation, administration, management and maintenance of the family wealth and affairs. More importantly, it provides a platform for the family to professionalise their long-term wealth management and increase family member engagement.

“Establishing a family office is a big undertaking,” Weekes says. “Ultimately, a family office is and will always be as distinctive as the families that set them up.”

Family offices also face a unique set of challenges when it comes to succession planning, as family dynamics can complicate matters. Succession planning for both the family office and the family enterprise must be planned in a holistic manner, in line with the family’s long-term objectives, to ensure effective transition.

“Often, the family enterprise may lack the governance structures to manage these complex situations,” says Philip Kunz, Head of Global Private Banking for South Asia at HSBC.

A properly structured family office and succession plan is thus crucial to overcome these obstacles and establish an orderly transfer of the management and ownership of the family enterprise.

“We always encourage our clients to start planning and preparation early. Families can embark on the journey by communicating openly, building trust, and work towards balancing the needs of the business whilst satisfying family members’ expectations,” Kunz adds.

Aligning Next Generation Priorities

Against the backdrop of these challenges to the transfer of wealth is a new and rising generation preparing to take the reins of their family legacy. Research by HSBC has shown that this unique group of individuals are increasingly driven to influence the world and exert a positive social impact compared to their parents.

“Our goal is to give these next generation of family members and entrepreneurs the support they need to plan strategically for the wealth that they will manage and the businesses they will operate or influence,” says Kunz.

Over the years, HSBC has actively engaged its next generation of clients through various initiatives—including the Next Generation Conference and Next Generation Sustainability Leadership Programme—to facilitate networking and provide a platform to discuss their challenges and ideas. “We have even brought our next gen clients to the jungles of Borneo so that they can see first-hand what impact our behavior has on nature and sustainability,” Kunz says.

Driving Sustainable Outcomes

Indeed, leveraging their wealth to achieve sustainable outcomes is a top priority for many of the next generation clients. To support these aspirations, HSBC launched the Sustainable Investment Academy, a collaborative effort with the group’s asset management, wealth management and private banking arms.

“We have handpicked the most relevant in-house and external content to facilitate effective conversations with clients about sustainable investments—supporting them as they choose to make a positive change to the world,” says Kunz. “Whereas in the past private banking clients were more focused on ethical exclusions from their investments, we are now seeing that clients are generally interested in ESG (environmental, social, and governance) from multi-asset approach, and want to include ESG criteria in their portfolio, without incurring additional risk.”

On the other hand, clients who are keen on impact investing—and intentionally seek to create a direct social or environmental impact—may be prepared to get personally involved.

Serving More Complex Needs

Technological, environmental, generational and social changes are defining the future of wealth and legacy planning. While the needs of families and individuals with significant wealth are becoming more complex, these clients also recognise that their wealth is not measured purely by its monetary value but by the positive change it can bring.

Likewise, HSBC understands that the bank’s role goes beyond simply managing their wealth, but more importantly to ensuring future sustainability and growth.

With Asia being at the center of this global wealth shift, Kunz believes that HSBC is well-positioned to provide its regional clients with holistic and comprehensive solutions that meet their increasingly global needs.

This spans across a client’s basic retail and transactional needs, to constructing a long-term investment strategy and portfolio, to considering generational planning needs, and perhaps even embarking on their philanthropic ambitions.

“It has been a privilege for us to have worked with many of our clients for over 75 years in Asia, from one generation to the next,” Kunz says. “We will continue to build these bridges, forging stronger bonds with Asia’s entrepreneurs and families in helping them achieve their long-term ambitions.”

Disclaimer

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.

Singapore Scales New Heights

Despite the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore is taking center stage amid a resurgence in businesses, a calibrated resumption of travel, and upbeat consumer sentiment. The city-state has clearly regained its confidence as a global financial hub, with the growing number of wealthy entrepreneurs snapping up posh homes in prime residential districts, sending prices to record highs.

Adding to signs that the Singapore economy is returning to normalcy, the nation’s economic growth climbed a reassuring 7.1% in the third quarter compared to the previous year. This nascent recovery has boosted the country’s burgeoning fintech industry and the ever-resilient luxury real estate market. No doubt, the substantial economic stimulus measures announced by the government in the most recent budget has helped to further bolster economic activity across the board.

Peak of Luxury

While the restoration of international links has empowered certain sectors, it’s the legacy of the sundry local lockdowns that has brought added vitality to some businesses. With staying at home required for some people and the preferred choice for others over the past two years, the primacy of having access to truly resplendent residential spaces has never been greater.

Residential spaces don’t come more resplendent than the Wallich Residence, a skyscraper at the heart of Singapore’s central business district. The occupants of one of Singapore’s loftiest living spaces can endure pandemic-enforced confinement in the utmost comfort.

Inevitably, demand has soared for the remaining units in this deluxe abode, which extends from the 39th to 64th floor of the Guoco Tower, the city’s tallest and most exclusive mixed use residential, office and hotel structure. Now that fine dining and cultural exploration are very much back on the menu, the ultra-connectivity of the residence’s city center location has only further enhanced its allure.

Transborder Transactions

With trade rebounding, restrictions on travel being scaled down and supply chains surging back into life, the need for efficient and unfettered digital payments into China has become a priority for many international businesses. This bodes well for Aleta Planet, a Singapore fintech firm that processes cross-border digital payments.

Founded seven years ago, the successful rollout of its flagship AP-1 digital card has positioned Aleta Planet among the major players facilitating rapid and secure payments to China-based business partners and suppliers. AP-1 allows international users to make payments in China without the need for a local bank account.

This app-based system allows payments to be cleared into UnionPay personal accounts worldwide or to qualified WeChat users in China in an instant, much faster than the 2 to 4 business days it takes via telegraphic transfer. With its mainland system in place, the company is looking to replicate its services in other jurisdictions, making it ideally equipped to meet the needs of Singapore’s increasingly global businesses.