Your Private Banking segment has undergone significant changes in recent years. How do you see the future of this segment for AfrAsia?
Indeed, our Private Banking segment has undergone significant changes in recent years, including the strengthening of our wealth management team. Today, we are not only recognised for our ability to provide attractive and tailored financing solutions, particularly to international clients seeking to acquire property in Mauritius, but also for our wealth management offering, which covers many services, including non-discretionary and discretionary portfolio management. Growth in this segment is expected to continue despite the current challenges we face, including the pandemic and the blacklist. In addition, with the growing demand for Private Banking services, we must constantly improve our offer, including wealth management while integrating digital transformation as a trigger for development.
What is the value of the assets you manage? How much is originated from local clients?
Excluding fixed deposits, and considering only the value in securities accounts, the Private Banking & Wealth Management segment exceeds MUR 4.0 billion. Local customers represent 70% of these assets. This figure shows the growing confidence that our customers place in us.
In an economic and financial environment that is expected to be persistently more challenging and difficult with the Covid-19 pandemic, what is your views on the subject matter?
The outlook is far from encouraging. The health crisis continues to have a heavy impact on economies, with real human and social consequences in its wake. Another challenge is the European Union's blacklist. These factors have prompted AfrAsia to review its strategy, which has been refocused on protecting the assets on its balance sheet and effectively preserving capital. At the level of Private Banking, the current conditions have above all created opportunities with a growing number of clients who want to have access to the financial markets, especially in certain specific sectors such as online shopping or pharmaceuticals.
What investment advice do you give to your clients in these times of high volatility prevailing in the financial markets?
Our advice to our clients is tailored to their financial objectives but also to their risk profile. At the local market level, SEMDEX has lost just under 25% since the start of the pandemic. Some actions today represent purchasing opportunities, especially with the progress of vaccination worldwide and the gradual reopening of economies. Internationally, on the other hand, the markets are at record levels with the risk of a slight rise in rates. We therefore recommend a balanced asset allocation and at the sector level, we recently reduced our exposure to the technology part in favour of more defensive segments. To those looking for performance but with a level of protection, we offer structured products mainly in rupees, euros and dollars with potential returns of up to 6% - 7% per year.