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WEALTH

Could tight pandemic restrictions prompt a high net-worth exodus in Asia?

A new study shows a high level of restlessness among high net-worth clients: they are tired of being immobile and are considering moving their families

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Asian high net-worth clients are considering relocating their entire families in a pandemic-linked move that will alarm private banks in the region.

The finding comes from an annual study of 620 high net-worth individuals in Asia by Lombard Odier. Although few investors have relocated since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, many are considering it: 41% of Singapore-based respondents, 34% of Thailand’s, 32% of those in the Philippines and 29% in Hong Kong.

“The main question this raises is the following: as a bank, how will you retain a client if he or she relocates to another country, market or jurisdiction?” asks the accompanying report, 'The certainty deficit'. “Will you be able to retain this client? What if a third of a bank’s client base relocated? This would imply a significant impact on business.

The idea of relocation is part of a broader trend for high net-worth families to consider bigger things beyond immediate investment horizons during the pandemic.

Across eight surveyed markets in Asia, 60% of respondents said the crisis had led to them rethinking some family-related matters, such as succession and location.