There is little doubt that the FinTech revolution, regulatory changes and increased transparency have had a profound impact on how businesses operate. AfrAsia Bank, far from resting on its laurels, is meeting these challenges with creativity and forward-thinking. Thierry Vallet, General Manager, outlines his winning formula to position the Bank as the go-to wealth manager in the region.
How does AfrAsia Private Banking deliver value to its clients?
“What do our customers want?” This seemingly basic question has guided how we design our services, products and interactions. Through our open architecture investment platform and more importantly our knowledgeable private and wealth managers, we are able to meet our customers’ needs who require tailor-made innovative investment solutions as well as a quick and effective service. Our value proposition goes far beyond products and services; it is centered on meaningful and long-term relationships. Furthermore, AfrAsia is first and foremost a bank created by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Since entrepreneurs have complex requirements that change over the life-cycle of their businesses, they often need guidance on both personal and business assets. We have invoked our entrepreneurial DNA to bring forth an integrated offering: ‘connectivity’ between corporate and private banking. We accompany them through each stage of their business, from incorporation to expansion, offering sound financial advice to support their ambitions. In the same breath, we help them grow and preserve their wealth in a way that matches their personal goals. A deep understanding of our clients’ needs has enabled us to combine our key strengths in both private and corporate banking to deliver a holistic solution. This is what our clients value.
As High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) are becoming increasingly savvy, they are demanding more digital capabilities to support their portfolio and relationship management needs. How is AfrAsia differentiating its offerings to remain relevant?
The new generation of customers is hyper connected; their expectations are shaped by new technologies, they want access to the most efficient products or services, and they want it now. This is why at AfrAsia, we are determined to have digitalisation embedded from the ground up, from back office to boardroom. To us, it is a prerequisite to optimise the customer experience, our overriding goal. We view technology as a facilitator for a strong, successful client-advisor relationship: it enables anagers to build a solid ‘Know Your Customer’ strategy, carry out higher
value operations and focus on their primary role—giving financial advice. Although the future of banking is heavily reliant on technology, a handson relationship manager remains the primary source of financial advice. As guardians of the customer relationship, they are the ones who provide personalised advice to meet each client’s unique requirements and establish a high level of trust. When it comes to counselling and strategy, a human advisor can better understand and address the complex needs of a HNWI through corporate advice that is difficult to find online. Digitalisation does not compete with the advisor; instead, it is his prime ally, allowing him to scale up the personal services for which he is valued. By providing a full range of support through face-to-face interactions as well as hassle-free solutions, we allow our customers to seamlessly combine the two and have the best of both worlds. This is where our competitive advantage resides.
What is your vision for AfrAsia Private Banking over the next 5 years?
Our primary goal is to provide an array of solutions adapted to a diversity of requirements. How can we achieve this? By strengthening the synergies between the Bank’s different units as well as stakeholders, while also maintaining a company-wide coherence. This will enable us to be more agile, respond faster to market fluctuations and spur innovation. I am convinced that AfrAsia is stronger than the sum of its parts. Our second focus is to solidify our regional presence. Africa is, by far, one of the most attractive and challenging markets to penetrate, with a burgeoning wealthy class—over 120,000 HNWIs accounting for USD 1,400 billion in assets. Mauritius happens to have the right mix to serve as a regional private banking hub: we have set high standards for compliance, security, legal and financial stability, regulatory transparency and technical expertise. AfrAsia, the benchmark-setters for industry best practices in Mauritius, has what it takes to offer a home to these millionaires.