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[Herald Interview] From organizing portfolios to educating heirs: Total wealth management for the superrich

Amid an increasing number of affluent people in Korea, Samsung Securities launches a multifamily office similar to Goldman Sachs, UBS

Park Kyung-hee, executive vice president of Samsung Securities’ SNI strategic unit (Samsung Securities)
Park Kyung-hee, executive vice president of Samsung Securities’ SNI strategic unit (Samsung Securities)

Private banking and wealth management functions have long been deemed exclusive services for a limited range of customers, such as the owners of big corporations.

But responding to the increasing population of high-net-worth asset holders -- such as entertainers, startup founders and people who inherit substantial sums -- local banks and brokerages have diversified their premium asset management functions.

Samsung Securities, the brokerage arm of the Samsung conglomerate, was one of the leading players, opening an exclusive branch in 2010 for those with at least 3 billion won ($2.53 million) in assets under Samsung accounts, the company’s senior strategic officer told The Korea Herald.

“By offering total wealth management services, ranging from financial asset managing to taxation and real estate related solutions, we were able to become one of the eminent brokerage houses. Based on sincere trust, nearly 76 percent of our clients have been our long-term clients for over 10 years,” said Park Kyung-hee, executive vice president of the SNI strategic unit at Samsung Securities, in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.

As of June this year, SNI’s clients doubled in number to 2,300, while their accumulated assets came to 71 trillion won -- over one-third of the brokerage firm’s total retail deposits.

Due to increased demand for special care in wealth management, Samsung Securities expanded its services across the nation last year and cooperated with 10 affiliated firms to offer even more professionalized and in-depth services to its clients.

To fulfill wealthy families’ needs for both financial and nonfinancial care, the firm launched its multifamily office service -- a private wealth management advisory firm for clients with over 10 billion won in assets solely under Samsung accounts -- in July, after a year of preparation, according to the securities firm.

“As a substantial number of our clients preferred a local multifamily office that is equivalent to global investment banking (companies) Goldman Sachs and UBS, we’ve decided to provide such integrated services, including asset portfolio management, to family business succession know-how,” she said.

The brokerage firm also offers premium investment opportunities to its affluent clients -- such as the chance to take part in the company’s principal investment or in a club deal. A club deal refers to a private equity buyout or the assumption of a controlling interest in a company that involves several different private equity firms.

In a separate move to keep in tune with the superrich lifestyle, Samsung Securities signed a partnership with British luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce in June. The collaboration strategy will create synergy as clients may enjoy special cross-brand benefits while the companies may attract new clients, the executive vice president added.

“Usually, the luxury carmaker does not let potential customers test-drive their high-end models such as Phantom, but we have made that happen for our clients,” Park said. “We will continue to expand our partnership with such globally peerless firms for our clients with high-value assets.”

Due to the prolonged COVID-19 situation, the SNI strategic unit has had difficulty offering face-to-face consulting and holding offline forums. To overcome such hurdles, the brokerage firm plans to offer broader contactless services to provide investment and asset management information via video clips and online forums.

“We believe that now is the time for us to provide solutions in various angles,” she said. “We promise to serve the best wealth management services and additional high-class services to meet our clients’ demands.”

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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