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  • What do you charge clients?
    While the specifics are open to discussion because we don't take a cookie-cutter approach to all clients, we have found that there tend to be three broad categories that clients accept. The most common one involves a fixed plus variable pricing model, which includes a small retainer fee which is charged as a percentage of assets under our advisory, and participation in the form of WMA taking a cut of the client portfolio's annual performance (net of all investment-related fees). A second model is a simple percentage of assets under advisory, without any performance participation. The final model is a flat negotiated dollar amount. Which one clients choose is often a function of their investment goals and how they want to incentivise WMA to work toward those goals.
  • Are you a licensed entity?
    Yes, absolutely. We hold a Capital Markets Services licensed issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore since 2016. We are regulated under the Securities & Futures Act (SFA) for fund management activities, and the Financial Advisers Act (FAA) for investment advisory and analysis.
  • What kinds of clients do you accept?
    We are able to advise both high net worth individuals who are deemed "Accredited Investors" under the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) framework, and institutional investors. To qualify as an accredited investor, you must meet one of these three conditions set out by the MAS: a. Have an annual income in the preceding 12 months of at least S$300,000 equivalent; b. Have net financial assets exceeding S$1,000,000 equivalent; c. Have net personal assets exceeding S$2,000,000 equivalent, of which the net equity of the individual's primary residence cannot exceed S$1,000,000 equivalent. The criteria above are the bare minimum to qualify, but our clients typically have at least US$5,000,000 to start investing immediately, with most having significantly more.
  • Do you hold my money directly? I'm worried about what will happen to my money if you disappear.
    Absolutely not. We do not hold your money directly. We act only as advisors on your portfolio, but your assets will remain under your own name with any custodian of your choosing.
  • Since you have a fund management license, do you have your own funds?"
    The short answer is no - unlike a number of other firms in the industry, we do not and will never run our own proprietary fund for more than one client to put their money in. (See the next question for a special exception to this.) First, we never want to put ourselves in a position where we try to put clients into a fund that may do well, but may not be best-in-class. Our basic ethos of avoiding conflicts of interests clearly preclude such a move. Second, putting clients into our own funds implies a cookie-cutter approach - that anything we choose for the fund is suitable for all our clients. This goes against yet another of our basic principles - that we provide advisory that takes into account the specific risk tolerances, needs and preferences of each client. We do, of course, still set up family or special purpose funds in Singapore or other offshore jurisdictions as long as they are aligned with WMA's key principles of independence and being bespoke and tailored to the client's specific needs.
  • I heard about the Variable Capital Company (VCC) scheme in Singapore - can I take advantage of this and the accompanying policy benefits surrounding it?
    Absolutely, yes. In fact, this is the sole situation in which we allow ourselves to use our fund management license - to be appointed the investment manager for a fund vehicle that is fully held by a group of investors (or their trust entity/investment holding companies) - this may be in the form of a VCC or any other form under Singapore law, but also similar vehicles in offshore jurisdictions. While there are no minimum capital requirements to set up a VCC per se, the decision to use this as your investment vehicle typically rests on whether you can qualify for Singapore's Enhanced-Tier Fund Tax Incentive Scheme (otherwise known as Section 13U of Singapore's Income Tax Act) or the Singapore Resident Fund Scheme (Section 13O), which grant a tax exemption on income from a wide range of investments including stocks, shares, bonds, securities and derivatives (immovable properties are excluded). These tax schemes may also grant you access to Singapore's Double Tax Treaty Network. MAS's case-by-case approval is required for access to these tax schemes.
  • Do I have to switch private banks if I join you?
    Quick answer: No. Of course if you dig a little deeper, "it depends". While we do not prescribe which private bank you should stay with, we have found that the different private banks provide varying levels of flexibility for your portfolio - specifically about what you can invest in, and for funds, what share classes (and consequently what fees you pay to fund managers). Some banks will insist that you only be allowed to invest in what they have cleared, while others take a more laissez-faire approach given that you are already being advised by WMA - fully licensed for investment advisory. Ultimately, this is a decision only you can make for yourself after considering what you want to achieve from your investment portfolio, although we will always be happy to give you advice on this matter.
  • I don't have a private bank yet. Can you help me?
    Absolutely. Again, while we don't prescribe banks and have absolutely no vested interests in the matter since we don't get paid by banks, we are happy to recommend several options to you based on your specific requirements after we have had a conversation to figure them out.
  • Do we need to pay you retrocessions/trailer fees?
    Absolutely not. This goes against our basic principles - we will never be compensated by any party other than our clients so as not to color our investment decisions. If you are a fund, we expect access to your institutional or trailer-free share classes in exchange - of course, with minimum subscription amounts met.
  • What kinds of asset classes are you open to?
    Broadly speaking, we are unconstrained in our advice to clients vis-a-vis asset classes. While we are heavily involved in more traditional asset classes and fund vehicles (including direct equity/debt investments), we are open to alternative investments as well - though our bar will typically be set a bit higher considering the additional attendant risks that come with it. We will always be open to exploring opportunities, if only to learn more about your product/asset class or to keep you on the radar if we feel that the time is right to warrant our recommendation to clients.
  • What firms do you work with?
    We work with global universal banks such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Societe Generale, UBS, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Nomura and HSBC across multiple business divisions, including private banking or wealth management, asset management and investment banking arms. We also work with a number of pure-play private banks like Bank of Singapore, Rothschild & Co, Lombard Odier, LGT Bank and Julius Baer. We also work directly with a number of asset management firms across all sizes, asset classes and geographies, including hedge funds, mutual funds, private equity, venture capital, and a number of other alternative managers. We also work directly with entrepreneurs looking to raise funds or find strategic partners within our network of clients or partners.
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