AIA Singapore Chief Investment Officer Liu Chunyen

As a child, Liu Chunyen was always curious. “I wanted to know how things worked and what moved the world. It’s very satisfying to understand the dynamics of a situation,” she explains. 

This piqued her interest in economics, which led her to pursue a master’s degree at New York University and even give investing a shot. Later, she had the time and opportunities to hone her wealth management skills while working in New York before joining AIA Hong Kong in 2008. 

She is now Chief Investment Officer at AIA Singapore, a position she’s held for the last five years. Liu oversees the company’s investment strategies in asset allocation, asset-liability management, and product development, among other responsibilities.

A new initiative launched this January is Wealthbeing by AIA, a holistic approach that provides all-rounded solutions for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) keen to build a legacy as well as protect and grow both their wealth and health. “AIA Singapore has been serving families in Singapore for more than 90 years through multiple generations and believes that a healthy, meaningful and enriching life is defined and driven by one’s ‘wealthbeing’, or possessing both wealth and well-being,” says Liu. 

“Accordingly, wealthbeing is defined as having the means — including health, wealth, freedom, and time — to pursue passions and interests. Only when wealth and well-being are in good hands can we have the peace of mind to focus on ourselves, our families, and what matters to us.”

The 2021 Agility Research & Strategy’s WealthLens™ Singapore Study found that HNWIs in Singapore prioritise financial well-being (64 per cent), mental well-being (62 per cent), and physical well-being (61 per cent) over work (33 per cent).

The nearly equal emphasis on the three different aspects of well-being didn’t surprise Liu’s team. The significant focus on mental well-being was further supported by the AIA Health Matters Survey, a study conducted by AIA Singapore in 2021 that found 91 per cent of Singaporean respondents reported a decline in mental health due to a variety of factors.

Only when wealth and well-being are in good hands can we have the peace of mind to focus on ourselves, our families, and what matters to us.

Liu Chunyen

In addition to a dedicated team of AIA Insurance Representatives  — trained and assessed by the Wealth Management Institute and certified by the Institute of Banking and Finance in Private Banking & Wealth Management (Relationship management) — AIA Singapore also offers HNWIs a comprehensive range of AIA Platinum products and AIA Elite Funds portfolio investments, powered by best-in-class institutional asset managers, to meet their personalised wealthbeing needs. HNWIs who qualify for AIA Altitude, an exclusive programme, also enjoy a suite of curated privileges, including complimentary will writing and Lasting Power of Attorney, bespoke lifestyle experiences, and access to the AIA Altitude customer service lounge, among others.

Wealthbeing by AIA’s holistic approach is mirrored by Liu’s own discipline at staying physically and mentally healthy — she eats well and exercises regularly — because “we need to embed healthy living in our everyday routine so that we can maximise its benefits”. Meanwhile, she manages her wealth with equal, if not more, tenacity: “I always invest based on long-term asset allocation.” Liu developed this strategy while working in financial and market risk analysis in New York. And it is one that has evolved over the years based on her investment horizon, risk tolerance, and investment objectives. 

She generally favours a multi-asset portfolio that includes bonds, equities and alternative assets. However, having allocated more to risky assets when she was younger, she is gradually doing the opposite as she nears retirement. 

“Am I always making money? Not really,” she admits. “But through my research, I can figure out fundamentals and long-term trends that enable me to properly allocate funds. While I’m not an expert in finding the winners of tomorrow, I’m quite confident in predicting trends. Hence, as a retail investor I tend to stick with investments and don’t tend to trade frequently to allow time to generate returns.”   

Although Covid-19 hasn’t changed her investment strategy fundamentally, she’s learned to establish a routine of receiving information online and investing through digital platforms. 

For now, Liu is focussed on helping HNWIs build a legacy that will positively impact our community and protect the future of our planet. 

In addition to selling off all directly-held investments in coal mining and coal-fired power businesses seven years ahead of target, AIA’s sustainability strategy aims to achieve  net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

But that’s not all. “Communication and education are critical to helping our investors understand that we are investing for the future,” offers Liu, “and this underscores the importance for a mindset shift as shareholders’ and customers’ return expectations must be well-managed as they consider the underlying risks and long-term outcomes.”