Luxury Mauritius met with François Desvaux de Marigny, Head of Private Banking & Wealth Management at MCB, to discuss the bank's exclusive new M positioning and to talk about the sector’s evolution in today's unusual context. Here is the interview.
What is the essence of private banking?
It is based on a banker's ability to forge strong relationships with his or her clients. These close and lasting relationships often determine the clients' future decisions, which sometimes go well beyond simple asset management issues. Let's be clear: real wealth arises from these relationships.
MCB Private Banking is evolving as M. Why the change?
It's something we've been working on for several years. The Mauritian economy has been among the best-performing ones in Africa over the past decade. This has naturally contributed to an increase in the amount of wealth per capita in the country. In addition, a new clientele consisting of high-net-worth (HNW) individuals, mainly from Europe and South Africa, has been attracted by the country's favourable tax environment and real estate schemes. This increase in the size and diversity of our market has required us to adopt more detailed segmentation to meet our clients' needs better. Alongside our well-established Select brand, M therefore offers dedicated wealth management aimed exclusively at a HNW clientele.
What benefits does M offer?
M provides a complete range of personalised products and services whose sophistication is to reflect each client's needs. Depending on how much they would like to invest, M clients benefit from services including financial planning, stock exchange order execution, discretionary and non-discretionary portfolio management, assistance with selecting funds, and access to certain private equity investments. These flexible, open-architecture services allow our clients to enjoy complete freedom when it comes to their investment decisions.
What makes your service stand out?
To begin with, M distinguishes itself because of the quality of the relationship between the bank and its clients. MCB's private bankers leverage the Group's skills and expertise in their clients' interests, and listen closely to the client’s needs at every stage of the wealth management process.
What's more, MCB Private Banking & Wealth Management consists of 130 people who are familiar with the economic, banking and financial ecosystem as a whole. Consequently, they are able to create synergies with the Group's other entities and services, including fund management, stock market brokerage, economic research, corporate finance, etc.
Finally, we are a benchmark both regionally and internationally. Our value proposition enables us to expand continuously, whilst building on our international presence through our subsidiaries and representative offices in Africa (RSA, Kenya), Dubai and Paris.
What trends ore currently emerging in private banking?
There are several. First, at an operational level, technology is increasingly being used to improve the client experience. This allows us to cater to a younger and increasingly active client base, and to provide client managers with better tools to serve their clients, wherever they are.
Alongside this, regulations introduced in the past few years allow to operate in a healthier and more structured environment. These protocols are often perceived as restrictive, but they protect us while safeguarding our clients’ interests. Abiding strictly to these rules of ethics and transparency has become part of our business case.
Finally, while ESG investing is not a new concept, it is nonetheless important that we move towards sustainable business practices. Taking ESG criteria into account when making investment decisions can safeguard a portfolio against changing economic circumstances. We are deeply committed to this issue in line with MCB Group’s sustainability strategy, Success Beyond Numbers. Our mission is to work towards more responsible investment in consultation with our clients. We seek to offer them a comprehensive view of the major issues of our time, in order to improve their awareness of these concerns and gradually move towards neutral or positive impact investments.
Given the current context, what are you communicating to your clients?
We constantly monitor the latest economic developments and remain in regular contact with our clients to update them about the outlook. We emphasise the long-term nature of investments, the inherent volatility of the stock market and how we manage the risks associated with these issues. We also draw their attention to the many longer-term opportunities that arise during times of uncertainty.