How a CEOs Quest to Offer Equal Access to Financial Products and Services will be a Game Changer
The genesis of every successful business starts with identifying a need, problem or a life experience that sparks a passion in order for an individual or collective to push towards resolution, or in this case, a revolution from the need.
Much has been spoken of in the media regarding Privé Managers and the success surrounding the WealthTech firm. For example, Privé Managers won Best External Asset Manager Solution and Best Robo-Advisory Solution; a successful joint-venture with Hanhua Financial and Kingsway Financial to digitize and transform their customer journeys; finalists at the Accenture FinTech Lab are just to name a few. Privé Managers serves clients across 11 countries through 7 offices that range from Private Banks, Asset Managers, Retail Banks, External Asset Managers, Family Offices and Independent Financial Advisors.
All of these accolades, yet, the elusive co-founder and CEO, Charles Wong, has never openly shared his spark or the genesis behind the fastest growing WealthTech player in the Asia Pacific region. Charles Wong served as Managing Director of Structured Products (Asia) at JP Morgan. This is his story.
“I need to help, and participate in wealth creation, not just for myself but in respect for the entire society.”
Neel: At what point did you decide to leave the Investment Banking industry and kick-start Privé?
Charles: The idea of building a private banking platform that is accessible to anyone was an idea that came from my experience working at JP Morgan. The market did not offer this type of service to the masses and was reserved typically for the HNWIs. It was only a matter of time before the market begins its shift away from selling products and forces advisors and product providers to offer value through service. The banks and advisors did not have access to a modern platform that is tailored to meet the demanding needs of an investor, so it was my choice and decision to create the platform that connects the advisor, product provider and more importantly the investor that significantly adds value to the industry.
Neel: Ok, so you recognized a need within the industry that you were employed in, but everyone inherently can see holes and problem within their chosen industries and never take action to make change. What was the catalyst or life experience that made you decide to take action?
Charles: The foundation of “Why we do this,” is really about, in some sense, social justice. My family immigrated to the U.S. and were considered poor. My family was considered to be working class and did not have access to many investment options like the wealthy and were forced to live off savings and interest. Interest rates were much higher during those times and it allowed my family to sustain our modest lifestyle. Now with global economies in a deflationary period coupled with ZIRP, it is an extremely difficult period for families, even savers, to survive. What are we saying as a society if we cannot enable the masses that are driving the global economies and deliver equal opportunities to them rather than benefit a chosen few? I believe in offering the same opportunities to everyone. For this reason, specifically in the wealth management world, everyone should have access to the same level of service and financial products. If individuals and families do not receive the same access to the best financial products in the current global economic environment, it will be very difficult for them to sustain a lifestyle that they want or need and they cannot rely on high interest rates as my family did. So I had to do something about it. Privé accomplishes this by connecting the entire wealth management ecosystem together.
“The wealth gap has been increasing throughout our existence. Increasing to such an extent that history has taught us one thing; that you will eventually see a revolution.”
Neel: Why haven’t you shared your story, before?
Charles: Been too busy building this company!
Neel: What are the next steps for Privé?
Charles: My vision is that over time, the ecosystem that we are building will provide services that are typically reserved for the HNWI and scale it to the retail markets through banks and independents. For example, we work with numerous family offices and manage HNWI-UHNWI who are open to sharing intelligence and create products and offer them to the masses. Rolling out products and strategies that were typically reserved for the ultra-wealthy and designed by highly intelligent people, will bring what I call “private banking services” to the average retail investor. That’s the vision!
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