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Raffles Family Office: What wealth management will be like for the next generation of the wealthy

How RFO takes advantage of its energetic, tight-knit team to deliver bespoke services to a younger generation of high-net-worth individuals.

Family offices are beginning to gain traction in Asia-Pacific.  The numbers don’t lie.  According to the UBS and Campden Wealth Management Report in 2019, family Offices in Asia-Pacific and the Emerging Markets had the highest average investment returns at 6.2%, as compared to North America at 5.9% and Europe at 4.3%, despite being less popular than in the latter regions. Contributing to the growth of the Asia-Pacific wealth management sector is Raffles Family Office (RFO), with headquarters in Hong Kong and branches in Singapore, Tai Wan and Shang Hai.  Established in 2016, RFO has in its 4-year sprint, become one of the leading names in the industry, and was awarded the title of ‘The Best Independent Wealth Manager – Greater China’ by WealthBriefingAsia (2019).  

The Peak probes the mind of Mr. Jaydee Lin, Managing Partner of RFO’s Singapore branch, on the strengths of their regional team, and the company’s future plans.  

What is different about RFO that caused you to grow and gain success so quickly?  

I would say it is a combination of our talents, our positioning and our approach to delivering services for our clients.  We make it a priority to always act in the best interests of our clients. Our commitment is to go above and beyond to sustain a high level of personal attention and deep client relationships, which is something only possible at a tight-knitted organisation like RFO.  We are also known for our independence, advisory expertise and a vast network of top financial institutions. Having these attributes sets us apart from our peers.

How has your close-knit team helped in your success in the years since the company has been established? 

Our talents are at the heart of everything we do as a business. We purposefully create an environment where everyone works on a shared vision and motto, and where everyone is willing to go the extra mile for our client and colleagues. This has enabled RFO to achieve impressive and high-quality growth in just a few years’ time since our establishment.

(Related: 5 business and life lessons from Andy Lim, CEO of JL Family Office)

What are your reasons for focusing on the next generation? 

A lot of our clients are second and third-generation high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), a demographic segment that is rapidly expanding across the region. Behind this is a quickening shift of wealth to the younger generation – aside from the intergenerational passage of wealth, the age of entrepreneurs who are generating wealth through innovative enterprises is also increasingly young. We’ve been able to service this customer segment largely thanks to our very energetic and dynamic team, with strong entrepreneurial spirits and solid experience in the industry. Being able to understand and share these attributes and values of next generation-HNWIs is crucial in our ability to build lasting, trusting relationships and provide the best advice for them.

You mentioned that your company has a strong interest in start-up investment, as a way to support the new generation of millennials.  Does this mean you see high rates of start-up success?

For us, investing in early-stage start-ups not only encourages and supports the flourishing of new innovations, but is also a way to add high-quality alternative investments into our clients’ portfolios for diversification purposes. What we have observed is that many early stage start-ups with compelling business models are typically less affected by market cycles, some even thrive better amongst such conditions. We certainly see a trend in start-ups becoming even more nimble and creative in their strategies and business models, which will be crucial for them to succeed in the post-pandemic world.

How has the pandemic affected how the company is deciding to move forward? 

Like many companies, we have had to be more flexible as a result of the pandemic. In Singapore, we’ve placed much of our focus this year in building our capabilities and offerings with the Variable Capital Company fund structure that the Monetary Authority of Singapore set up in January 2020.  We were one of the first of our industry to participate in the scheme, which gave us a first-mover advantage that has allowed us to continue capturing business opportunities despite the economic slowdown. We have made some very encouraging progress on this front and we foresee the scheme to continue to gain traction. 

(Related: How ex-SGX chief regulatory officer Richard Teng is shaping the finance industry in the Middle East)

Any other major focus in the works? 

We are focused in accelerating our growth across markets in Southeast Asia and Greater China, and will continue to focus on delivering top-notch client service, bringing in the right talents and establishing strategic partnerships in the region. One of the key initiatives we’ve been working on is the three-year regional partnership with Juventus Football Club, covering five markets in Asia, including Singapore. This is an important signal in our commitment to extend our reach and exposure in the region, as well as to offer our clients with highly-exclusive experiences and benefits. We are very proud to have made it happen.

Why did you decide to start the partnership with Juventus during this trying period? 

We are at the cusp of intergenerational wealth transfer. There represents a huge opportunity for Asia’s families to institutionalise their family governance structures and wealth transfer matters which will only become more important given the current market volatility and uncertainties. The Juventus partnership therefore is an important signal in our commitment to address that gap by engaging efficiently across the markets through a programme that speaks to our values.

(Related: How timber scion David Yong grew the family business by grafting new ideas)