Thursday, April 22, 2010

International Property Advisor aims to bridge gap between banking, real estate

It will help manage real estate portfolios of wealthy investors

FORMER Savills analyst Ku Swee Yong hopes to shake up the real estate scene here with his new agency International Property Advisor (IPA).

IPA aims to connect high net worth individuals to suitable real estate investment products.

‘We want to provide a service to represent the private wealth that goes into real estate investments,’ said Mr Ku.

He was most recently a director with SG Private Banking’s real estate division before he left early this year to set up IPA. Prior to joining SG Private Banking in 2008, he was director of marketing and business development at Savills Singapore for more than two years.

Mr Ku said that he set up IPA to fill a gap in the real estate advisory space. Right now, most property firms in Singapore employ agents who instruct clients on buying, selling or leasing physical real estate – without considering other classes of real estate investments such as equities.

But private clients – generally defined as clients who qualify for private banking accounts – require a different approach, says Mr Ku

‘We require consultants and brokers who are able to think on behalf of the private client, and this involves knowledge of the client’s portfolio and the wide range of investment products competing for the client’s attention,’ he said.

With IPA, Mr Ku expects to bridge the gap between bankers and real estate consultants.

‘Bankers are typically not equipped to deal with or cannot understand or manage real estate as part of their core work,’ he said. ‘And real estate professionals typically do not have enough financial knowledge. We bridge this gap and differentiate ourselves by providing a holistic solution for clients.’

IPA will help manage the real estate portfolios of wealthy investors to preserve and enhance value, tailor real estate portfolio strategies to clients’ objectives, such as estate planning to wealth creation, and broker transactions on the ground, which will give the team first-hand knowledge on prices and the demand and supply situation.

Mr Ku says that there is tremendous potential for such services. About a fifth of high net worth individual wealth in the Asia-Pacific is in real estate and there has been growing interest in property-related investments.

Mr Ku, who is already working on projects for clients, is looking to tie up with private banks and businesses in need of real estate expertise. He is also looking to hire and will increase IPA’s headcount from the current five to 12.

Source: Business Times, 22 Apr 2010

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