II Asia Special Report Q&A - Investors Trust's David Knights

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II Asia Special Report Q&A - Investors Trust's David Knights

In this exclusive interview below International Investment Publisher Gary Robinson speaks to David Knights, Head of Asia Distribution at Investors Trust, as part of II's Special Report on Asia which will be published in the coming weeks. 

Knights, pictured below, talks about how the company has 'weathered the storm' during the pandemic and post-pandemic period in the region, where movement was particularly difficult and restrictions have lasted much longer than other parts of the globe. He also reveals how Investors Trust is working with advisers and brokers in Asia to help maximise the opportunities that are presenting themselves in the region in this post pandemic period of relative calm.

GR: Why is the Asian market so important for Investors Trust? And what sets Investors Trust apart from competitors on the region?

DK: Asia remains a key market for ITA both in terms of the size of the market, it's continued growth potential and the strength of the distribution relationships that we have here. I believe that our people are a key differentiator from our competitors with a highly experienced, multilingual Asia team that understands our business partners' needs and the challenges they face.

GR: What parts of Asia are you busiest in and why? 

Our markets in East Asia remain key to us despite the fact that pandemic restrictions probably had the greatest impact there and lasted longest. However I am also very pleased with the growth in both business and new distribution that we have been seeing in South East Asia recently, including Malaysia where we are licensed through Labuan.

GR: How has the marketplace changed since covid? And how are stricter restrictions impacting?

We weathered the challenges of the pandemic well thanks to the quality of our technology and our ability to handle almost every element of the client journey paperlessly. This was a great enabler for advisors who were unable to interact face to face with clients for extended periods. With most of the Covid restrictions in the region now lifted we are optimistic for the year ahead.

GR: What are the biggest challenges for advisers and brokers in the region for 2023?

DK: One ongoing challenge continues to be the need to overcome client concerns about current geopolitical and global economic factors by keeping them focused on their long term financial goals. ITA can help with this through our wide range of products which includes unique capital protected solutions that may appeal to clients who are concerned about investment volatility

GR: Where are the opportunities and sweet spots for advisers in the region and how can Investors Trust help with those?

DK: One opportunity that we can already see is that the ending of pandemic restrictions has released a lot of pent up demand in sectors such as aviation and hospitality which are traditionally big employers of internationally mobile clients with good earnings potential. To serve this client segment well it is important to be able to offer portable products along with the ability to continue servicing clients remotely even after they move to other countries or regions.

ITA's leading edge technology, advanced online access which is available in multiple languages for both clients and advisers and continued investment in these areas leave us well placed to support advisers in this space  

GR: What can you tell us about the opening up of Hong Kong with China and its impact on the dynamics of the rest of the region and beyond?

DK: The rapid re-opening of Hong Kong and China has presented some short term challenges and concerns particularly around the impact of high Covid case numbers in the Mainland but will inevitably provide a boost to the economic prospects for the entire Asia region as these challenges recede and a more normal business environment resumes.

Asia remains the region with the fastest growth rates in numbers of both HNW and UHNW individuals and is set to surpass Europe as the world's second largest wealth hub after the US by 2026.

Author spotlight

Gary Robinson

Commercial Director, Head of Video at International Investment.