Family offices seek foreign partners as HNIs keen to invest outside India

A surge in international investing by high net-worth individuals (HNIs) is pushing family offices in India to enter into foreign partnerships to deliver advice on investing in global markets.

In May, Waterfield Advisors, which manages assets worth around $3.7 billion across 70 families in India, tied up with Zephyr Management, a US-based firm to manage international investments of its clients. Other family offices have also forged alliances with advisers in the US and Singapore.

Indian residents are allowed to invest up to $250,000 per financial year abroad in instruments such as stocks and bonds as per the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) liberalized remittance scheme (LRS).

“Global markets have outperformed India over the past four-five years. Rupee depreciation against the dollar has also made them more attractive. Many families also have members who live abroad, giving them more familiarity with the international markets. We started offering international investing in 2017 and we’ve seen a sizable uptick in interest over the past few years,” said Unmesh Kulkarni, managing director, senior adviser and head—markets and advisory solutions, Julius Baer Wealth Advisors (India) Pvt Ltd.

“In today’s world, there is more emphasis on pushing products rather than delivering advice. With foreign markets, there is the added disadvantage of unfamiliarity and limited experience that Indian investors face. This is why advice becomes important,” said Sadaf Behbahany, managing director, Waterfield Family Office.

Rajmohan Krishnan, principal founder and managing director, Entrust Family Office concurred.

“With unprecedented central bank money printing in the major economies, it has become important for people to diversify their portfolios, including from their own home currencies. We are finding based on various conversations that there is an increasing need for international investing but a lack of credible options,” he said.

Krishnan also highlighted the need for low-cost and transparent international advice.

International investing under LRS brings with it a certain number of costs such as currency conversion, advisory fees and brokerage. Family offices differed on the extent of such costs but most put it in the range of 0.75-2% per annum.

“We generally recommend it only for clients who are willing to invest $100,000 or more,” said Prateek Pant, co-founder and head, products and solutions, Sanctum Investment Management. Sanctum also has entered into tie-ups with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered financial advisers for advice on international investments, he said.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.