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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Balancing Safety, Convenience And Opportunity Hold Key To Resumption Of Mice Events Post-Pandemic

Jerome Kim, Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), a Seoul-based non-profit international organization devoted to the research and development of vaccines for delivery to the developing world. © IVI

With the Covid-19 outbreak disrupting travel across the world in the past two years, the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry has put in tremendous efforts to survive the pandemic. As vaccination rates increase and governments begin loosening measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, there are growing expectations for a recovery from this year onwards.

An understanding of the disease control protocols and a consensus among different countries will allow MICE events to return to normal, says Jerome Kim, Director General of the Seoul-based International Vaccine Institute (IVI). Kim has also been appointed as Honorary Ambassador of Korea Tourism to promote the country as a MICE tourism destination, now that international travelers are gradually returning. In an interview, Kim—a medical doctor who is among the world’s most influential vaccine experts—shares his insights on the need to put in place simplified health safety protocols as MICE events resume. He also shares plans on how to make South Korea among the world’s safest MICE destinations.

Variants of Covid-19 continue to emerge, which makes it difficult to predict the end of the pandemic. What is your view as an expert?

We need to vaccinate and give booster shots to raise vaccination levels in the general population above 90%. Removing restrictions after achieving high rates of vaccination is not without risks, but it has to be done in a way that we can understand the interaction between variants, vaccines, and people getting sick.

Dr. Kim delivering an oral cholera vaccine to a child in Ethiopia in 2015. © IVI

In Los Angeles, the number of people getting hospitalized and staying in ICUs has been reduced by 26 times after vaccine booster shot drives were conducted. Anyone who becomes infected should also be closely monitored so that, if needed, medicines that prevent the progression to severe disease and death can also be given. These ‘lines of defense’ allow countries to continue to remain open while reducing the burden of diseases and deaths.

What are the most important projects that IVI is carrying out in response to the pandemic?

IVI’s most important decision came in February 2020 when we decided not to make our own vaccine but to help anyone who requested assistance at any stage of vaccine development (as IVI can work across the value chain). We are working with over 30 companies, organizations, and funders. Importantly, the vaccines we are testing in Phase III clinical trials come from companies that have committed over 1.2 billion doses to COVAX, the global distribution mechanism for low- and middle-income countries.

In-person encounters and exchanges are considered most important in the MICE industry. What do we need to do to return to some semblance of normalcy as soon as possible? 

I was just at a MICE event in Singapore, which is currently experiencing a surge. There was a lot of testing—pre-flight, post flight, and a test on the way back plus rapid antigen testing every day with a picture sent to the organizer and these tests were supported by the organizer. Unless restrictions are simplified, conventions of 100 attendees or greater will become even more complex and costly—simply the testing and reporting requirements are substantial, and it is likely that larger conferences will have attendees traveling at their own risk. The other difficulty was understanding the requirements for entry, the multiple forms, redundant information, etc. You have to have the dedicated app to go into the hotel or visit a hotel restaurant or enter the conference.

If we want MICE events to become more commonplace, we need to come to a better understanding of risks, requirements, and costs. Hopefully there can be agreement on these things between countries as well.

Korea International Travel Expo 2021 minimizes the shortcomings of virtual events by combining in-person meetings and virtual conferences using hologram technology. © Korea Tourism Organization

The MICE industry has taken on a hybrid form, with a mixture of online and offline means of communication. Have you had experience with the hybrid form of MICE? 

The MICE event that I just attended was a hybrid event. The two keynote speakers were on the line from the U.S., but 80% of the speakers and panelists were in Singapore.

There were delays due to testing. Our office was very concerned about the complexity of forms required (though on the day after I landed, Singapore switched to a rapid antigen screen).

The opportunity to interact after the sessions, in the halls or at dinner, reminded everyone of what the virtual meeting deprives us of. However, the rule in Singapore was that (people from different) tables at dinner were not allowed to interact; if they saw anyone table hopping, they would actually go and ask the person to return to their designated table.

Korea has been successful until now in hosting different MICE events, but the requirements for quarantine are a major impediment to large conferences and securing exemptions for a large number of international travelers could pose risks to the host country.

Korea is a MICE hub of Asia. In your understanding, what makes the Korean MICE industry so successful? 

First, it is Korea’s graciousness, technology, and support. The care that the conferences take in making Korean culture a part of symposia and providing hospitality with a Korean flair reinforces the impressions that people are getting now from the K-drama and K-pop craze.

Second, when you are traveling to a conference you want it to work seamlessly—problems (especially now) with on-line speakers, or with Q&A, really detract from the science. The technology here and the people supporting it are terrific.

Which place in Korea do you recommend hosting a MICE event?

I have been to several COEX events over the past two years. They continue to be well organized, and the space is large enough that people are not packed together unsafely. I think Gangnam always offers many things to do, and additionally, it has become famous. I have also been to some nice venues outside of Seoul, for example in Busan or in Yeosu. Actually, the latter may be a little too distant. But, Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, could be a good venue as it is wonderfully diverse and has much more of an “ocean” feel.

As a Korean American, how would you describe the allure of Korea? 

As a fourth generation Korean American, my impressions of Korea come from visits that my family members had in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Korea was poor and still struggling. I have only really known the modern and successful Korea, but it has been really fascinating as a history buff to visit places like the DMZ, or the ancient tombs in Gyeongju, or to stay at a hanok (a traditional Korean house) in Andong. I could spend all day walking around the National Museum or the Gyeongbokgung Palace and museum. I really would like to see Mt. Geumgangsan and Mt. Baekdusan in North Korea, and we have Hwaseong Fortress and Buyeo on the list as well. Finally, I’d like to see Okcheon—I think that is where my grandfather was born.

© IVI

Finally, please share a message of hope with the MICE professionals around the world who are struggling during the pandemic. 

Reopening will be a reality. But as with everything about this pandemic, we are still figuring out the best way to do it. I think we are starting to see glimmers of hope. I hope to be attending meetings all over the world soon.

 
 

 

 

www.koreaconvention.org

Precision Targeting: Richard Mille’s Elegant Timepieces And Mindful Philanthropy

RM 74-02 © Lilias Le Quellec

There is a beauty and wonder that only comes from true precision. Whether manifested in extraordinary feats of horological engineering or within the infinite complexity of the human mind, the result is never less than breathtaking. There is, then, a natural synergy between the world’s finest mechanical watches and the wonder that is the human brain. It has, however, taken Richard Mille, one of the world’s leading Swiss watch marques, to recognize this resonance and duly support these two highly complementary celebrations of perfect precision.

 

A part of the Paris Brain Institute, ICM is the first neurology center in France.

This commitment is embodied equally in two of the company’s luxury tourbillon timepieces—the RM 74-01 and the RM 74-02—and its continuing support for the Paris Brain Institute, a research establishment acknowledged as a world leader when it comes to decoding the mysteries of the human mind. Naturally, Richard Mille is setting new standards for innovation and sustained excellence in both spheres of activity.

Combining pioneering technical expertise and future-facing functionality, the in-house automatic tourbillion timepieces embody unparalleled elegance while remaining the ultimate expression of precision watchmaking engineering. This sees them stay true to Richard Mille’s high-end horological heritage, while also representing a bold step forward for the science of Swiss watch manufacturing.

Timeless Timepieces, Future Classics

Although sharing the same ultra-skeletonized heart, the two models boast bold, highly individual crafting, including distinctly different casing materials and strikingly contrasting aesthetics. In many ways, they are best considered fraternal twins, albeit siblings with markedly different personalities.

For its part, the RM 74-01 comes clad in grey Cermet, a metal-ceramic composite renowned for its corrosion-resistant and scratch-proof qualities. Combining the lightness of titanium with a ceramic resilience, the material—the product of many years of joint development between Richard Mille and the IMI Group, a global leader in microtechnology—has a diamond-esque invulnerability, making it the optimum choice for the case of this signature model. Harmoniously complementing the case is a grade 5 titanium caseband, while the bridges and baseplate deliver an engagingly elegant and simpatico finish.

RM 74-01 © Lilias Le Quellec

By contrast, the RM 74-02 comes enhanced with another proprietary Richard Mille material—Gold Carbon TPT®. This combination of a singular composite material (Carbon TPT®) and fine gold leaf was perfected only after many years of tireless development. With its robust and resilient properties matched only by its lightness, the contrast between the carbon matte black and the intermittent golden filigree bestows a truly bespoke haute horological air. Its singular silhouette also incorporates fine threads of 24-carat yellow gold, haloing a radiance that extends across its baseplate and red-gold caseband, while its polished pillars and crown are similarly encircled with matching material.

From L – R: Jean Todt, founding member of the Paris Brain Institute, Professor Gérard Saillant, President of Paris Brain Institute, Richard Mille

Beyond their distinct external aesthetic, the twin cores of both models are in-house automatic tourbillon calibres—the CRMT6 for the RM 74-01 and the CRMT5 for the RM 74-02. While the baseplate and bridges of the CRMT6 are both fashioned from PVD- and electro-plasma-treated grade 5 titanium, its CRMT5 counterpart favors the more traditional hues of yellow and red gold. Incorporating an impressive 50-hour power reserve, both movements are faultlessly driven by a variable-geometry rotor, ensuring each watch and its winding can be customized in line with the needs and preferences of its owner.

Characteristically slender, the contours of the RM 74-01 and RM 74-02 ably forefront their majestically positioned tourbillons, which are set at the six o’clock point. In a finely finessed finishing touch, the beveled festooned flange draws the eye to each watch’s movement, while an adept adornment of fine handcrafting further refines the already delicate features of these two timeless timepieces.

Philanthropically Minded, Cerebrally Focused

Given the deeply cerebral design work behind these two timepieces, it’s clear that Richard Mille owes a deep debt to the intricacies of the human mind. Recognizing this, the company’s strategic alliance with the Paris Brain Institute sees it committed to supporting the research body in its mission to establish a greater understanding of how the brain works, while helping fund its ongoing work to remedy many crippling neurological ailments.

Such philanthropic endeavors are nothing new to Richard Mille, which has a long history of supporting a variety of highly deserving causes, including The Rafael Nadal Foundation, YB Afraid and the Only Watch Charity Auction. The Paris Brain Institute, though, has struck a particular chord with the fine watchmaker, and has seen the brand’s eponymous founder keen to champion its future success.

Underlining the company’s long-term commitment to the center, he said, “Supporting an organization as advanced and promising as the Institute is a noble cause. By helping to facilitate its research, we are saving lives and improving the everyday existence of many people across the world.”

Paris Brain Institute

Through its financial assistance and its establishment of the Richard Mille Donors’ Club, the brand believes it can play a key role in sustaining the Institute and its 700 dedicated researchers. In this way, it seeks to bring hope to the one billion people around the world suffering from neurological conditions, many of whom lack access to proper treatment.

As with the company’s exquisite timepieces, there’s a pleasing symmetry in the mindfulness of Richard Mille’s philanthropic endeavors.

 

Leveraging Technology To Drive Sustainability

PETRONAS redefines the future of energy with its hydrogen-derived energy solutions.

PETRONAS has been increasingly adopting technology to drive its sustainability goals over the past two decades, underscoring the importance of the energy giant’s sustainability agenda in everything it does to safeguard people, planet and profits for generations to come.

The company continues to institute positive changes by elevating its operational excellence and optimizing costs, while investing boldly in technologically driven solutions. These investments will shape the future of energy as the industry gradually transitions into a lower carbon economy through the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Hydrogen Energy Technology

While fossil fuels remain as a key source of energy around the world, PETRONAS is redefining its offerings by investing in hydrogen-derived energy as a cleaner source of fuel.

Today, hydrogen is one of the many complementary clean energy vectors that can be transformed into sustainable energy. This helps to protect the environment as hydrogen-derived energy lessens dependency on fossil fuels, lowers pollution and cuts greenhouse gases that are harmful to the earth.

Developing new solutions such as hydrogen-derived energy demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainability. To drive this new journey, PETRONAS Hydrogen was established in 2020 under the group’s Gas and New Energy business division, which aims to become an end-to-end solution provider of hydrogen.

PETRONAS builds upon its experience in extracting blue hydrogen from its facilities and as a world-renowned reliable LNG supplier to expand its renewable energy portfolio and vast natural gas resources. The company has collaborated with Malaysia’s hydropower suppliers to explore commercial production of green hydrogen by leveraging on Malaysia’s rich and renewable natural resources.

PETRONAS has collaborated with both long-standing and new customers to develop a competitive hydrogen supply chain. Through these partnerships, PETRONAS is pursuing projects such as the optimization of blue and green hydrogen production and conversion of liquid hydrogen into ammonia or methylcyclohexane as a solution to store and transport hydrogen. With such projects, the company’s continued engineering innovations as well as research and development capabilities, PETRONAS believes that it can provide clean and cost-competitive hydrogen solutions to its customers.

From Biomass to Energy

PETRONAS’ innovative technology produces Bio-MEG from palm biomass.

Another sustainable initiative PETRONAS is investing in is the world’s first direct conversion technology, which converts palm biomass into renewable products. This innovative technology uses palm oil’s empty fruit brunches, a sustainable material that does not interfere with food chain supply, to create Bio-MEG.

Driven by PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG), this initiative demonstrates PETRONAS’ commitment to sustainability. The company has plans to create value by converting abundantly available biomass in Malaysia into a sustainable alternative feedstock, aimed at creating renewable chemical products for markets such as packaging, textiles, automotive and electronics. PCG will showcase these production capabilities through an integrated pilot facility in 2022.

As a progressive energy company, PETRONAS aims to reduce carbon emissions and is committed to be part of the solution to manage the impact of climate change by developing innovative solutions for generations to come. The company’s diversified energy portfolio, along with its evolving new energy business, will provide a platform for cleaner energy solutions for a more sustainable future.

www.petronas.com/sustainability

A Trusted Partner In An Uncertain World

Siew Meng Tan, Regional Head of HSBC Global Private Banking, Asia Pacific

Amid ongoing uncertainties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, signs of optimism have emerged in global markets as economies reopen and consumer confidence returns. Yet, risks remain and these will have an impact on investment decisions and portfolio management.

Leveraging the expertise and international connectivity of a global financial institution, HSBC Global Private Banking supports high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals and their families across Asia Pacific as they seek opportunities amid the turbulence.

“The last two years have been very volatile and our clients are looking to us for guidance,” says Siew Meng Tan, Regional Head of HSBC Global Private Banking in Asia Pacific. “As such, we are working hard to help our clients grow, manage and sustain their wealth, while opening up a world of opportunity to them.”

Another important theme is the revival of Asia in the coming years, particularly growth areas that will emerge in the post-pandemic era such as healthcare and education.

“In response to the pandemic, Asia has turned towards technological innovation, the net-zero transition, and continued growth in consumption to drive its growth in the long term,” Tan says.

Achieving Optimal Diversification

With the pandemic making risk management more important than ever, HSBC Global Private Banking aims to help investors diversify their portfolios across assets and geographies in the most optimal way possible.

Asian investors who have traditionally focused on public markets are now increasingly investing in private assets and alternative investments to help reduce volatility and improve yields, Tan says. The growing interest in alternatives speaks to one of the bank’s core strengths. Trade publication Asian Private Banker named HSBC Global Private Banking the Best Private Bank for Alternatives Advisory for the third consecutive year.

“Investing in private markets allows you to take a more medium to longer term view without being impacted by the volatility associated with public markets,” Tan says. “This resonates very well with investors who want a more diversified portfolio.”

Tan also sees rising demand for structured products which enable investors to more effectively take a view on where they believe the market is headed. “If you think a particular stock has a limited upside, or it is going down, they can express it through structured products,” she explains. “Such products can also provide access to more niche asset classes such as commodities.”

Geographical diversification has also become more important for ultra-high net worth families, Tan says. Spreading their wealth across multiple jurisdictions bodes well for these clients as their next-generation members increasingly prefer to live in different parts of the world. “We are talking about families with global lifestyles, and this is where our international network and expertise can help them diversify their wealth more effectively.”

Meeting Changing Wealth Needs

The needs of ultra-high net worth families are likely to vary and evolve over time. This is especially true in Asia where much of the wealth has been accumulated by entrepreneurs who built and continue to run successful businesses. HSBC has supported many of these entrepreneurial families through the years, developing an intimate understanding of their needs across businesses, private wealth, and even generations.

By leveraging on HSBC’s universal bank model, its private bankers are able to meet these ever-changing needs at every stage of the clients’ wealth journey by bringing to bear the full capabilities of the entire group.

“This is where HSBC is able to support them, not just on the personal front, but also in terms of their business needs through our commercial banking and markets divisions,” Tan says. “As many Asian businesses today are global in nature, HSBC’s global connectivity allows us to offer our solutions wherever our clients have a presence.”

Investing in Digital

As private banking clients become more plugged into technology, HSBC is engaging them through various digital channels such as mobile apps that enable remote transactions or through communication platforms such as WhatsApp and WeChat.

“If we want to eff ectively serve our clients’ needs, then our digitalisation drive is of utmost importance,” Tan says. “If we are not interacting with them through channels that they are regularly utilising, then I think we wouldn’t be in a position to compete. Digitalisation is an absolute strategic priority for us. Our clients are very busy and sometimes it’s difficult for them to find the time to call us. We want them to have an online platform where they can safely discuss their investments anywhere and anytime, at their own convenience.”

Reflecting the bank’s commitment to digitalisation, Tan said HSBC Global Private Banking is investing more than US$100 million in Asia over a two-year period to build and innovate its core banking and digital platforms.

HSBC’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Among the seven awards HSBC Global Private Banking received from Asian Private Banker this year are the Best Private Bank for Client Experience and blue-ribbon Best Private Bank in Asia Pacific, accolades that reflect the strides it has taken to deliver industry-leading client offerings and services.

Looking ahead, HSBC Global Private Banking will continue to craft solutions that are designed to support their clients as they progress on their wealth journeys in a landscape marked by constant disruptions.

“As one of the world’s leading private banks, we pride ourselves on being able to understand the needs of our clients and the market environment to bring personalised solutions,” Tan says. “This is delivered through our global network, our universal banking model, as well as the investments that we are making into digital.”

 

privatebanking.hsbc.com

 


Disclaimers

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.


 

Metaverse: From Dream To Reality

For many years, the concept of the metaverse—a term used to describe the next evolution of the internet and a virtual world where people can socialize, work and play—has been merely a dream, or perhaps a vision, for technopreneurs.

This is understandable given that the development of a metaverse requires advancements in multiple technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), wearables, blockchain and cloud computing. However, with the progress made by tech companies in recent years, metaverses are on course to become a reality sooner rather than later.

Creating Happiness with the Translucia Metaverse

T&B Media Global Founder and CEO, Dr. Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp

Over the past year, many large global companies—from tech giants such as Alphabet and Meta (formerly known as Facebook) to consumer products like Coca-Cola and Nike—have shown growing interest in metaverses.

But interest in metaverses is not only being generated by US-based corporations. Bangkok-headquartered T&B Media Global has also announced ambitious plans to develop its own metaverse. T&B Media Global Founder and CEO Dr. Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp calls the company’s creation Translucia: a metaverse designed to contribute to the society and economy by “transforming the way we live and experience life.”

Unlike other metaverses, however, Ahriyavraromp sees Translucia serving a greater purpose. “Like other metaverses, Translucia is an integration of advanced technologies, imagination and creativity. Unlike other metaverses, Translucia focuses on creating happiness, not only from external sources but also internally from one’s mind and body,” he says.

A Four-level Metaverse

The Translucia Metaverse, into which T&B Media Global is investing US$300 million (10 billion baht), will comprise four key levels: Central Translucia, Pillars of Nature, Nature’s True Home and Beyond Boundless.

According to Ahriyavraromp, Central Translucia—also known as the Central Hub of Limitless Opportunities—is a place where you can pursue various interests, and where dreams can become real. The Pillars of Nature comprises various fascinating ecosystems, including flora and fauna, to be explored and discovered, while in Nature’s True Home, users have access to a “hidden realm of nature’s wonders and enchantments” that, Ahriyavraromp says, is “a special world where you can choose your destiny as nature’s guardian.”

As for Beyond Boundless, Ahriyavraromp describes it as “a place where the mind and soul will find rest and be lifted by those we love and trust.”

Endless Possibilities

Unlike other Metaverses, Translucia focuses on creating happiness, not only from external sources but also internally from one’s mind and body.

At December’s Metaverse Unlimited, the first international forum organized by Translucia, metaverse experts from around the world agreed that there are endless possibilities in terms of how metaverses can benefit mankind.

Pat Pataranutaporn, Research Assistant and Ph.D. candidate at MIT Media Lab, believes technologies that enable the metaverse can help humans to stay healthier through closed-loop wearables. Humans are also able to make better decisions with human-AI symbiosis, and learn better with AI-generated characters, he adds.

Pataranutaporn also says that, by having wearables that are able to tap into the body’s biological information, visiting clinics and hospitals for health checkups may become a thing of the past, while wearable technologies capable of producing medicine within a person’s body are also a possibility. “Now, with the advancement in synthetic biology, we can have the capability to use bacteria cells in the body as a living medicine factory,” he says.

He also sees the metaverse playing another big role in Thailand, which is increasingly becoming an aging society. “With technologies that enable the metaverse, we can potentially live a healthier lifestyle, and even live longer. As you are aware, Thailand is becoming an aging society. So, we need to think of ways we can help those people and create society wisdom, so that we can empower the younger generation to create a better future,” he says.

Meanwhile, Cathy Hackl, Chief Metaverse Officer and CEO of the Futures Intelligence Group, says the fashion and entertainment industries have been showing interest in the metaverse, with Ariana Grande performing a concert on Fortnite, a popular multiplayer video game, and Nike acquiring RTFKT, a company that designs assets that are only available virtually.

“The metaverse presents itself as a realm of infinite possibilities and opportunities, like unexplored planets in outer space,” Hackl says.

Building a Better World

Although AI, which is a key building block for the metaverse, has its suites of benefits, including the advancement of healthcare, pharmaceuticals and education, Jeanne Lim, Co-Founder and CEO of Hong Kong-based beingAI, says humans are becoming “increasingly disconnected from the positive impacts of AI.”

She explains that the disconnection is partly due to fear of AI taking over from humanity and taking our jobs, as well as a distrust of the technology, for example deepfake videos.

“However, we do have a choice in how we design technology, and how we engage with technology,” says Lim. “If we want machines to understand us, understand our values, so that they can make better decisions for us, we have to engage with them. I believe that positive human-AI interactions can elevate the human experience.”

While technology is a key building block for the metaverse, Lim says she believes that the most important building block for the metaverse is human wisdom—after all, it is humans who will be designing the AIs.

“We have to start with human wisdom in order to put the rocks in the right place. Overall, this may be our last chance of building a better world. To me, the metaverse is not something we enter, it is something we build as a human race,” she says.

Creating Purpose and Legacy

Understanding that the metaverse and its related technologies can bring enormous benefits—and sometimes harm—to humankind, Ahriyavraromp believes it is vital for Translucia Metaverse to maintain its goal of creating happiness, both externally and from within.

“Translucia is driven by an engine that we envision will create goodness, prosperity, wellness and, ultimately, happiness. Translucia defines goodness as being good to others, to the world, and to yourself. By doing so, we at Translucia are changing the traditional definition of P&L—from profit and loss, to purpose and legacy.”

For more information, please visit:

 

www.events.translucia.org

Beximco Communications Delivers A New World Of TV Entertainment To Bangladesh

Beximco Communications is breaking new ground in Bangladesh’s entertainment and media sector by leveraging its position as an innovation leader and a pioneer in digital content viewing.

In May 2019, the company launched AKASH—the country’s first-ever direct to home (DTH) television service—with the vision to build a world class digital entertainment ecosystem for Bangladesh. That’s a breakthrough for a country where only 63% of households, or about 23.4 million, have TVs, more than 95% of which are analogue.

“This service has changed the face of the television landscape by allowing every person in a primarily analogue landscape to have access to premium quality digital entertainment,” says Shayan F. Rahman, Chairman of Beximco Communications. “This access to more programming and new content choices will provide support in the continued development and transformation of the nation in the fields of education, health, culture, sports, employment and many other areas.”

With superior picture and sound qualities, AKASH DTH offers a wide range of popular Bangladeshi and foreign TV  channels including the world’s biggest sporting events. Beximco will continue to add quality local and foreign content going forward, as well as introduce services such as video on demand and over-the-top media services.

AKASH allows its subscribers the convenience of managing their own accounts for content they wish to subscribe to at their fingertips, while giving them real-time access to customer support 24 x 7. The service is a fully prepaid platform, which means customers don’t have to deal with post-paid billing and payment hassles which is not possible with traditional pay TV operators. This also ensures that the right amount of taxes are paid on all connections and that no tax revenue is lost to the government.

Access To Remote Areas

Being the first operator of DTH service in Bangladesh, Beximco has made significant capital outlay to establish a country wide distribution network, while at the same time marketing the service and building strong brand recognition and product/service loyalty for AKASH.

As consumers increasingly shift towards high-definition and 4K televisions, Bangladeshis won’t fully experience the potential of these advanced products unless they subscribe to AKASH. The DTH service can bridge this gap by offering a technologically superior digital connection that can deliver the picture and sound quality that consumers desire. AKASH is the only player in Bangladesh PayTV industry which offers true HD picture & Dolby audio.

“There is vast scope for expansion and growth especially in the rural and cable dark areas. With the government’s commitment to Digital Bangladesh and subsequently making the digitalization of the television network compulsory, demand will only accelerate and AKASH DTH is perfectly positioned to be the digital broadcasting platform of choice..”

– SHAYAN F. RAHMAN, CHAIRMAN OF BEXIMCO COMMUNICATIONS

With its satellite-based coverage, AKASH can reach all parts of the country, including remote geographies that pose logistical challenges for conventional cable TV operators. The company has also been working to create a skilled service and distribution infrastructure to service deep rural areas with no access to cable TV services.

To enhance the customer experience, AKASH offers customised packages that cater to all customer segments. The service comes with features such as value-for-money offerings, personal video recording, parental controls and program reminders.

Robust Digital TV Demand

“There is vast scope for expansion and growth especially in the rural and cable dark areas,” says Rahman. “With the government’s commitment to Digital Bangladesh and subsequently making the digitalization of the television network compulsory, demand will only accelerate and AKASH DTH is perfectly positioned to be the digital broadcasting platform of choice.”

The future looks bright for AKASH DTH with the PayTV segment in Bangladesh projected to be a multibillion-dollar industry in the next five years. The number of TVs per household is expected to grow substantially due to differing content preferences across gender and age groups, resulting in a corresponding rise in the number of connections per household.

TV viewing has surged and has effectively become an essential service during the pandemic. Against this backdrop, Beximco has continued to install and establish connections for new subscribers, under the strictest guidelines and safety management measures. It has also invested in a contactless transactions platform that provides customers self-help tools and a self- care portal integrated with social media messaging services for related matters.

To find out more

www.beximco.com

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.

Thai Government Rolls Out Policies To Boost Economic Growth Post Pandemic

Jurin Laksanawisit, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Thai economy is on track to expand 3.9% this year after posting a modest 1% growth in 2021 as consumption and business activities return to pre-pandemic levels, according to the World Bank.

The Southeast Asian economy has come a long way since contracting 6.1% at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, thanks to the government’s initiatives to bolster economic growth by encouraging domestic consumption, supporting local entrepreneurs and promoting exports.

With the policies in place, the twin pillars of the economy: domestic consumption and exports are poised for even higher growth. Exports are predicted to grow by at least 5% this year, while private investments will likely increase between 4% and 6%, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

“We are promoting the consumption of Thai products to build confidence and also to encourage the use of our products as raw materials to create added value,” says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit, adding that Thailand will be focusing on programs that have already proven themselves successful.

The government is also bolstering the new economy by promoting and developing online marketing platforms. “We are developing entrepreneurs to take advantage of the platform economy and online commerce,” Jurin says.

To stimulate innovation and encourage younger generations to become involved in the economy, “we will continue our initiative on human resource development for students to build more entrepreneurs,” says Jurin. “One of our programs, from Gen Z to CEO, focuses on helping the youth become entrepreneurs. In 2021 we had 20,000 participants and we aim to have another 20,000 this year.”

To build sustainable growth, the government is promoting environment friendly economic development using the bio-circular green (BCG) economic model, which leverages technology and innovation to add value to goods and services while mitigating negative environmental and sustainability impacts. The BCG model will be applied in agriculture and food; health and medical; energy, materials and biochemicals; as well as tourism and creative economy.

Thailand will apply the bio-circular green (BCG) economic model in agriculture and food; health and medical; energy, materials and biochemicals; as well as tourism and creative economy.

To support exports, Thailand will foster closer cooperation with members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. “We look forward to closer cooperation with APEC member countries as Thailand will host APEC this year,” Jurin says. “We are also redoubling efforts to expedite trade between Thailand and other markets, including China, the US, the EU, countries in the Middle East and Russia.”

In addition to bilateral trade agreements, “we will also be working on more sub-country trade agreements,” says Jurin. Thailand will continue to forge trade agreements with markets in state, provincial or regional areas instead of whole countries. After signing sub-country trade deals with Hainan, China and Kofu, Japan last year, Thailand plans to seal similar accords with other localities in China and India.

 

www.ditp.go.th

Harps Drives Growth Through Sustainability And ESG Principles

HARPS sees its diverse workforce as the company’s most important asset.

HARPS’ philosophy is built upon four fundamental strategy pillars—evolutionary innovation; commercial and supply chain excellence; human capital development; and operational excellence— which are known internally as ECHO.

Haziq bin Zairel Oh, Founder, Managing Director and CEO of HARPS, was brought up and guided by his father, the late Mr. Oh Tiam Sing, who worked in the glove industry for more than 25 years and who was one of the pioneers of nitrile gloves in Malaysia. Haziq established HARPS in 2015 as an investment company and assembled a key senior management team. Armed with more than 20 years of experience in the rubber industry, and thus possessing a keen understanding of the unique complexities of glove-making, they worked together to manage and lead HARPS and its subsidiaries strategically on their business journey.

Investing in the Future

HARPS acquired Central Medicare Sdn. Bhd. (CMSB) and New Era Medicare Sdn. Bhd. (NEM) in 2015, and has invested approximately RM1.1 billion (US$261 million) in its glove business over the years. Today, via CMSB, it is operating in OEM mode to manufacture and market high-quality nitrile examination gloves. NEM, meanwhile, conducts R&D, and is involved in the manufacturing and distribution of surgical and specialty gloves.

Under CMSB, HARPS currently has 34 production lines with a total annual installed capacity of 11.6 billion gloves, representing an impressive tenfold increase within six years.

Further expansion plans are also underway, and HARPS has invested in building two more manufacturing blocks in addition to its existing four blocks. This will help increase the annual installed capacity to 19.5 billion gloves by 2023.

In 2020, the total global export volume of gloves was approximately 382 billion gloves. As a proportion of global export market share, HARPS held approximately 2% in both volume and value of sales. As of November 2021, HARPS has more than 35 customers across four continents, with the largest proportion coming from the U.S., followed by Asia and Europe. The application of HARPS’ gloves ranges from food safety and industrial to medical and PPE barrier protection.

R&D at the Forefront

HARPS fosters an innovative culture driven by R&D and talent development, with the belief that innovation is necessary to ensure business competitiveness and sustainability. As of October 31, 2021, HARPS has 33 personnel involved in delivering innovations to support product and process development, engineering innovation, technical support and product stewardship. The various application solutions that HARPS has introduced include: eco-friendly malachite gloves with a lower carbon footprint, which is quantified by a cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment; gloves with high permeation resistance for chemotherapy; gloves with resistance to specific chemicals; and gloves with low dermatitis potential.

Central Medicare Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of HARPS, operates a manufacturing plant in Teluk Intan, Perak, Malaysia.

Addressing the changing demands of the market over the years, HARPS has fulfilled various customer requirements via successful R&D projects. Based on customer requests, HARPS has managed to decrease the thickness and weight of its gloves, from 3.5 grams in 2015 to 2.7 grams, without compromising on the tensile strength of its products. In addition, HARPS continues to invest in fundamental formulation and material science know-how to enhance its product quality, optimize productivity and ultimately leverage on the hand-barrier protection performance of its products.

HARPS’ state-of-the-art, self-designed glove dipping lines are equipped to produce the highest quality nitrile gloves.

HARPS is also investing in operational innovation, process optimization, automation and digitalization in line with Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0), with an initial investment amounting to RM30 million (US$7 million) to continuously improve the efficiency of manufacturing control.

Sustainability and Beyond

Mindful of shifting global priorities, HARPS is working hard to integrate sustainability as not only one of its core values, but also as a key element in its business operations. To chart its path for the future, HARPS has implemented a five-year sustainability roadmap to focus on five key pillars: integrated business strategy, people, environmental, health and safety, and governance and compliance. HARPS’ ESG initiatives are also aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

As reflected in its ECHO strategy and its sustainability roadmap, the people element and human capital development are priorities for HARPS. Viewing its workforce as the company’s most important asset, HARPS places the utmost importance on employee welfare, attributing its continued success to the contribution and commitment of each member of staff. As an illustration of this, the firm has invested heavily in learning and development programs to upskill employees, and has subscribed to globally recognized ethical audit procedures.

HARPS became a member of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) in 2019 and has since undergone two Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audits. These are based on the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code, which focuses on the four key pillars of labor standards, business ethics, health and safety, and environment.

The Phase I Permanent Hostel is part of HARPS’ RM50 million (US$12 million) investment to improve the welfare of the company’s workers.

In line with its growth plans, CMSB is expected to expand its workforce from 2,600 to 3,500 staff by 2023. As a growing employer, HARPS implements sound labor practices guided by the International Labour Organization’s 11 forced labor indicators, which include providing a platform for workers to speak out (via a workers’ representative committee) and ensuring that there is no unlawful withholding or deduction of workers’ salaries. A zero-recruitment fee policy is also among the various ESG practices implemented by HARPS, which amounts to a spend of more than RM12 million (US$2.85 million) to date. To improve the living conditions of its foreign workers, meanwhile, HARPS has built permanent hostels that have been assessed by Malaysia’s Ministry of Human Resources, and which hold valid Certificates for Accommodation.

Ultimately, by drawing on its deeply held corporate values, HARPS is on track to bring the principles of sustainability to every part of its business as it continues to grow.