Coronavirus sparks surge in client trading with Asian wealth managers

Pedro Gonçalves
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Coronavirus sparks surge in client trading with Asian wealth managers

As the coronavirus is trapping people at home, rich asians are spending more time discussing their investment portfolios with their wealth managers.

Sources at five global wealth managers, including three of the region's top 10 by size, told Reuters client trading revenue in the region had risen in the first two months of 2020 compared to last year.

"During this time ... since our clients are not travelling as much, they are actually spending more time discussing their investment portfolios with us by phone or video conference," said Amy Lo, co-head of Asia-Pacific wealth management at UBS.

"We have seen increasing client interest in both our discretionary and advisory mandate solutions since the beginning of the year," she said, without commenting on the impact of the virus on new client business.

Strict travel curbs and the avoidance of social contact is making it tougher for banks including Credit Suisse Group AG , HSBC Holdings PLC and UBS Group AG to bring new wealthy clients on board, sparking a fall in new client money.

Inflows of funds from new customers in January and February have fallen 10% to 20% in the region, bankers told Reuters, adding the trend is likely to continue in the near-term.

With around 90,000 recorded coronavirus infections across the globe recorded and the number of fatalities passing 3,000, the crisis is far from over however, and it remains highly unclear how much policy can cushion a sustained supply shock.

 

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