Asia’s emerging wealthy

  • Author : Louise Polcaro
  • Date : July 2012
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Louise Polcaro is Managing Editor of STEP Journal

A recent report has found that 89 per cent of Asian high-net-worth individuals want more wealth guidance and information from professionals.

Scorpio Partnership’s The Future Priority Report 2012: Asia’s emerging wealthy surveyed 2,800 individuals with the aim of understanding the priorities of Asia’s fast-growing population of wealth creators when it comes to managing their money. The average wealth of those who took part was USD1.4 million and 90 per cent of them have an established relationship with a wealth management firm.

Defying conformity

Over such a geographically and culturally diverse continent it can be difficult to draw parallels between countries. In the hope of finding insights into attitudes across the region, the report has grouped countries ‘according to their similarities, but in the hope of highlighting their differences’. It groups China, India and South Korea as ‘power houses’. They are Asia’s largest economies, all with a gross domestic product exceeding USD1 trillion. The ‘power houses’ are ‘rich and getting richer’, and optimistic about wealth creation in the future.

The report dubs Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan as the ‘money-hubs’, channelling the money that flows through the region. The report finds that these countries show a ‘cautious optimism’, with comparatively modest wealth goals.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are seen as ‘wealth builders’. The report states that individuals from these countries are a force to be reckoned with, ‘sprinting up the wealth curve’, confident about their ability to build wealth.

Life-wealth balance

The research across these nine Asian markets reveals that Malaysians, Indians, Indonesians and Thais are the most content when it comes to their life-wealth balance. The least content were South Koreans, Singaporeans and residents of Hong Kong. Interestingly, those nations with the happiest life-wealth balance scores also had among the shortest timeframes for tripling their prosperity, although all respondents anticipated strong wealth-creation results by 2022.

Seeking guidance

Most importantly for STEP members, the research also uncovered that across the region virtually all millionaires are increasingly interested in seeking professional guidance in decisions surrounding their wealth. For example, well over 80 per cent from across the region want more education on investments and strategies to manage their wealth more effectively.

The respondents typically work with two financial providers, and banks currently dominate as the region’s main money managers, with 69 per cent of Asia’s wealthy having this relationship, but financial advisors, online investment firms, private banks and wealth advisors all compete for second place.

Each country differs when it comes to the providers they want. Private banking services are more popular in India, Indonesia and Thailand, but investors in China, Hong Kong and Singapore show more interest in online investment providers.

‘Across the region the watchword for the future of wealth management will be “service”’
High expectations

All respondents have high expectations for wealth advisors, looking chiefly for independence, top-quality staff and product information, and expect their advisors to work hard to build a long-term relationship. They also have strong views on how their current wealth-management services will need to develop to keep up to date with their changing needs. They expect to work with more wealth managers in the future rather than fewer.

Another interesting finding is that half feel they would benefit from immigration and business and family relocation services, especially in Indonesia and India, which are the countries most focused on international wealth-creation opportunities.


The report points to a clear theme emerging across the region: ‘the watchword for the future of wealth management will be “service”’. Asia’s emerging wealthy have high expectations of their advisors and in the future they will expect more. The basic requirements – staff, keeping in touch, clear reporting and smooth transfers – are taken for granted, and in the future the focus will be on advice, knowledge, education and information.

Good advice

A lot can be taken from this research, which highlights some interesting parallels and contrasts across this diverse region. The report shows a ‘powerful optimism for Asia’s ascendency’ among its respondents, although their approach to wealth creation in the near future varies considerably. Where a common theme does emerge is in the search for good advice and education to help them manage their growing affluence.

The full report, The Future Priority Report 2012: Asia’s emerging wealthy, can be viewed at


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© 2012 Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners