Wealth

Got a Million Dollars? This Philippine Private Bank Will Help You Manage Your Wealth

What’s the use of having lots of money if you don’t know how to handle it?
IMAGE Unsplash/William Stitt
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According to the latest Wealth Report from real estate consultancy Knight Frank, there were over 24,100 individuals in the Philippines whose net worth was at least $1 million (P52.7 million) in 2018. That number shrinks to 215 when you only count ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs), which Knight Frank defines as those with a net worth of at least $30 million (P1.6 billion).

It’s the 24,000 dollar millionaires, as well as their respective families, that the Union Bank of the Philippines is targeting with their newest product offering.

“We decided to launch this business because we want to be there for our clients in realizing their aspiration towards financial legacy,” said Arlene Tanjuaquio-Agustin, head of private banking in UnionBank. “Our mission is to help them grow, preserve, and co-manage their wealth.”


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In partnership with Lombard Odier, a 223-year-old private bank based in Switzerland, UnionBank will provide a variety of financial services catered specifically to the very rich. These range from asset management services such as investments and wealth planning as well as family-focused services such as estate planning and next-generation training.

While these UHNWI-focused services aren’t new, UnionBank CEO Edwin Bautista said that localizing them allows the rich to manage their assets without having to bring them outside the country. And with the partnership that the bank forged with Lombard Odier, Bautista is confident that UnionBank will be able to offer world-class services to their clients.

“We’re bringing the expertise onshore,” explained Bautista. “The trend is the money is flowing back [home], particularly in Asia. Before you have a lot of the funds kept abroad, now there’s greater confidence onshore.”

“It’s always easier to manage your funds if the people you’re talking to are just around the corner,” he added.

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Expanding market

While a potential client base of only 24,000 individuals and their families seems limited, both UnionBank and Lombard Odier are confident that more people will need their private banking services in the future as more Filipinos become dollar millionaires.

Knight Frank’s Wealth Report predicted that by 2023, the number of dollar millionaires in the Philippines will rise by 34 percent, the second highest increase in the world behind only India. The number of UHNWIs will grow even faster at 38 percent, signaling the rising wealth among the country’s richest individuals.

“According to certain reports, the number of individuals with more than $5 million will double in the next three to five years in the Philippines,” said Vincent Magnenat, CEO of Lombard Odier Asia. “So existing wealth and future wealth is here.”

With a potentially much larger market in the horizon, UnionBank is beginning to cement its position as the private bank of choice for these ultra rich individuals. And with the backing of a long-standing institution in Lombard Odier, the bank is confident that it will be able to meet the UHNWIs’ unique demands.

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“This will raise the bar in terms of wealth management practices in the Philippines,” claimed Tanjuaquio-Agustin.

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Lorenzo Kyle Subido
Lorenzo Kyle Subido is a staff writer for Esquire Philippines.
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