Investment Banking & Investment Management

Private Wealth Management: Graduate Area of Work

Take charge and manage the finances of high-net-worth clients.
The gradsingapore Team
The gradsingapore Team
Investment Banking_Private Wealth Management

Private wealth management, also commonly known as private banking, deals with high-net-worth individuals, along with the occasional small-business owners. These clients typically look for specialised services that cater to their distinctive needs as they have a larger- than-usual amount of wealth.

These services include planning and investment management, along with advising on matters such as tax, retirement funds and family trusts. Clients tend to possess diverse portfolios across a number of industries, and thus servicing them requires customising and tailoring exclusive solutions for specific individuals. This is something that can only be achieved with in-depth, specialist knowledge of each client’s investment options and the industries within.

Private wealth management can be split into two main areas – advisory and discretionary. For advisory services, managers advise their clients on decisions to maximise returns, so that the individuals can act accordingly while maintaining direct control over their portfolio.

Discretionary services, on the other hand, involve a meeting between a client and manager to discuss an overall strategy which the bank will execute, through effective day-to-day decisions, to achieve that aim.

General overview

There are three types of roles in private banking – relationship management, investment and support.

Relationship managers have to identify clients’ needs and problems to offer them solutions from the bank. Developing and maintaining a good rapport with clients is vital, and promoting the bank’s services is at the heart of what relationship managers do.

Investment specialists, on the other hand, analyse the market and provide investment recommendations to clients that relationship managers bring in. In discretionary capacities, they can make investment decisions for the clients. Investment staff also liaise with other product specialists in the bank to get expert advice on certain assets or investment options.

Support functions help investment professionals manage client portfolios and research new commercial ideas. It also includes compliance, operations, HR and accounting.

Required skills

For those looking to work in relationship management, a degree with strengths in marketing, sales, or public relations is a plus. Some knowledge about the financial market is essential, along with patience for handling difficult clients, as well as communication and interpersonal skills. Language skills are also highly valued in such roles, with multilingualism seen as a huge asset.

A finance-related degree isn’t needed for other aspects of private wealth management as well, though some firms may want newcomers to obtain specialised certifications – such as a master’s in wealth management – before allowing them to climb past a certain point on the ladder.

Strong numerical and analytical skills are important too, along with self-motivation and a willingness and capacity to work in a team. Most importantly, hopefuls need to encompass trustworthiness and discretion when handling clients’ investments.

Pros & cons

Private bankers enjoy certain insights other roles in the industry may not have access to. As high-net-worth clients use such services to cross-invest their assets, many get to observe, and occasionally even participate in, various investment strategies to derive the most returns.

Most client-advisor relationships tend to last for a long time in this industry, which often translates to good networking resources. However, accruing a significant amount of experience in this industry is still needed before the responsibility of handling another party’s financial goals is entrusted.

As this is a highly competitive field with numerous firms and co- workers jostling for a small, select group of elite high-net-worth clients, be prepared to work incredibly hard if you want to advance.