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BOV - Managing Wealth is the name of the Game
15 Jul 2016

Aldo Scardino, Executive Head Wealth Management at Bank of Valletta, talks about relationship with the customer is at the heart of wealth management.

How would you define Wealth Management?

Wealth Management is all about managing wealth within the ambit of investment objectives and investment horizons that are subjective to the individual client and his circumstances, at a given point in time. Over time, all variables – the client’s risk profile, his risk appetite and risk objectives change. For instance, a person’s objectives when he is starting out and building a pension plan would be very different from those of a person approaching retirement age.

How has the Wealth Management arm within Bank of Valletta developed over the years?

Wealth Management business in Malta is relatively new. Until a few decades ago, there was relatively small Wealth Management business in Malta. Before then, the Maltese used to do their Wealth Management overseas and very few foreigners chose Malta as their wealth management jurisdiction. Maltese wealth has been repatriating, especially after the sovereign debt and banking crisis, where Malta and Maltese banks fared so well, and now even foreign high net worth individuals and families are choosing Malta as the place where to manage their wealth.

Bank of Valletta set up its Wealth Management arm in the early 1990s, at that time, through BOVI. Over the past four years, BOV Wealth Management has grown significantly. Nonetheless, this business is still relatively young and of strategic importance to the Bank.

What are the main challenges faced by Wealth Management today?

I think it will come as no surprise to cite regulation as the prime challenge. In fact, we are continuously reviewing the way we operate to ensure that we are in synch with the regulatory changes such as MiFID II, FATCA, QI, CRS, and the Single Regulatory Regime of the EU. Malta is also amending its own Conduct of Business rules which are still in the consultation process with the financial services industry. Most importantly, wealth managers have become price and standard takers as clients are becoming more demanding and sophisticated. Concurrently their mobility across service providers has increased.

 Is your Wealth Management offering directed exclusively to personal clients?

True to most wealth management outfits, the personal segment forms the core of our client base. However, we are tailoring our services to corporate and fiduciary clients that are connected to the personal client base.

What do Wealth Management customers look out for?

Irrespective of whether they are personal or corporate, clients demand that their advisors manage their wealth as professionally as they themselves would manage their own business. Therefore, they expect a broad range of financial services, efficiency and competence, at a competitive cost, complete with peace of mind in respect of the custody of their assets.

What is the added value you are offering?

Our strength at BOV Wealth Management is the same strength that has always distinguished Bank of Valletta – the relationship we build with our customers, enabling us to customize our offering to our clients’ particular circumstances, every time.

At Bank of Valletta, Wealth Management is filling in a vacuum that is becoming increasingly more apparent, even to foreign customers. We pride ourselves in knowing the customer and keeping an active and open relationship. For us, it is neither about the size of the portfolio nor the automation of the relationship, but about the intimacy of the relationship between the Manager and the client and the nurturing of a long term and mutually beneficial relationship. Thus, in spite of the growth in our client base, we have continued to offer a personalized service.

Not all Wealth Managers can offer all the services. Bank of Valletta is a universal player. Of course, this presents drawbacks, namely because we are competing on all fronts with niche players. However, our Wealth Management clients have immediate and direct access to ancillary financial services such as, traditional deposit and lending products, credit cards, internet banking, and custody to mention a few.

Published - Engineering Today 

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