By SUCHEERA PINIJPARAKARN
SIAM COMMERCIAL Bank is partnering with Knight Frank Thailand to open a window to real-estate investment in London for its ultra-high-net-worth customers to help them diversify their investment portfolio amid the economic instability.
Lalitphat Toranavikrai, head of private banking at SCB, said Thailand’s economy was facing an uncertain future and fixed-income instruments were unlikely to be very attractive because of the investment volatility, while the overseas-property-market trend is positive.
London is one place that Thai UHNWs – accounts with at least Bt50 million in assets under management (AUM) at the bank – are familiar with, as they have sent their children to Britain to study there.
The bank found that these customers have sought residences in Britain. Real estate in that country, especially in London, can be an alternative investment for them.
The strategy of SCB is to help customers find alternative investments to gain a better mix of asset classes that will maximise returns while preserving wealth amid the unclear domestic economic situation. Knight Frank Thailand, an independent property-consulting company, will present investment opportunities in London so that UHNWs can buy the right real estate with healthy returns in the long run.
SCB private banking serves more than 10,000 UHNWs with combined AUM of Bt600 billion.
On Tuesday, SCB and Knight Frank Thailand shared insights into global property markets with some 50 private banking clients. Knight Frank also presented “The Wealth Report 2015” to the participants.
According to the report, despite the political ups and downs, the Thai UNHW population is expanding. In 2014, the ultra-wealthy increased by 2.5 per cent or 540 individuals. It forecasts UHNWs in Thailand growing by 58 per cent or 855 individuals over the next decade. Frank Khan, executive vice president of Knight Frank Thailand, said London property is attractive for wealthy Thai investors. Prices surged 52 per cent from 2009-12, while return on investment is about 9 per cent.
Britain is investing in infrastructure, especially subway lines, which will give a big boost to the real-estate market. After the recent election, the London property market will continue booming for at least five years thanks to the absolute-majority Conservative government.
The right-of centre government is expected to maintain tax rates that are appealing to foreign investors.