Wealth management industry challenged to rear investors to safe-haven assets

StashAway says 80% of affluent clients are receptive to receiving advisory services from AI and other digital channels.

The wealth management industry is confronted with two challenges in 2023: uncertain times that have raised investors’ concerns about the macro environment, and the disruption by artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots.

Stephanie Leung, chief investment officer of Singapore-based investment services firm StashAway, confirmed there is a trend of flight to safety amongst investors that would seem to continue through the rest of the year.

Since these are turbulent times, which Leung said may be reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis, investors have drawn concerns about the macro environment and how they can stay invested in the interim. 

She said money is now moving to more defensive assets from investment portfolios and even bank deposits since most banks cannot offer high-interest rates.

In contrast, US government bonds offer interest rates closer to 5% and they are “very, very safe,” said Leung. 

“US government bonds are being quite attractive to actually weather through this environment,” she said, adding that they are highly risk-free and offer higher interest rates at short duration.

At the same time, the wealth management industry is adapting to the disruption by AI and chatbots, which have also been pointing investors to safer assets.

Leung said StashAway has been using AI techniques to analyze historical data when coming up with asset allocations. 

“Recent breakthroughs are taking AI or AR (augmented reality) technology to the next level, where as a human being, you can interact with an AI model, through languages or linguistic approaches,” she said.

For StashAway, the disruption has unlocked a lot of potential for how it serves its customers and the same goes for the entire wealth management industry, said Leung.

The second major trend happening in 2023 is the continued adoption of digital wealth management solutions in Southeast Asian and North Asian customer bases.

Within the mass affluent segment, which is still underserved, there is a high propensity to move wealth management solutions online, with 80% of affluent customers receptive to receiving advisory services through digital channels.

Despite the volatility in the market, Leung believes there are still opportunities for investors to build wealth. 

StashAway has advised increasing allocation in short-duration bonds, and over the course of this year, to start increasing duration in fixed-income assets.

Some of the more defensive assets may perform better this year, and gold is a safe-haven asset that could benefit when equities are in a downturn. Gold is also a good long-term inflation hedge.

When it comes to investing, it is better to focus on long-term investing rather than betting on luck.

“As an asset allocator, I always prefer things that have a higher probability of success. And I think when we invest, we have some financial goals that we're trying to achieve,” Leung said.

Follow the link for more news on

Join Asian Banking & Finance community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!


Regulatory caps on neobanks’ operations could stifle growth, expert warns
Despite questions arising from the recent rise of deposit caps in neobanks, incumbent banks are left unfazed.
Tempered adoption of AI tools may spell greater leap for fintech firms
Expert underscores generative AI’s strength in streamlining front-of-office work, but banks on human expertise for in-depth development.
Advisory takes centre stage in Danamon's next-Generation Branches
Danamon’s next-generation branches reshape banking by performing more advisory functions and improving customer experiences.