Podcast Transcript: The Money Makers by Sophia
Ep. 36: Yvonne Leung, J.P. Morgan Private Bank Asia
“Investing through all market cycles”
Welcome to The Money Makers podcast brought to you by Sophia. Sophia is an exciting education platform for women focused on managing your money and growing your wealth. This podcast is a show for amazing women everywhere of all ages, we will feature conversations on all areas of our lives where money matters affect women.
Hi, welcome to The Money Makers by Sophia, this is Christine Yu, Co-founder of Sophia and your podcast host for today. This is a very special podcast episode, as we are announcing our Sophia partnership with J.P. Morgan Private Bank. We're pleased to partner with J.P. Morgan to deliver a year-long program called Women and Wealth, a series of in-person and digital experiences for women in their wealth management. By partnering with J.P. Morgan, we at Sophia aim to provide women with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed financial decisions which are essential in creating and managing their wealth. We believe that when women are empowered, our entire community benefits. Today I sat down with Yvonne Leung in Hong Kong. She's the Head of Managed Solutions at J.P. Morgan
Private Bank Asia. We talked about how we can invest throughout all cycles and build wealth. Yvonne has been in the finance industry for over 20 years. At the bank, she works closely with advisors and portfolio management teams in delivering core multi-asset managed solutions for clients in the region. At the end of the podcast, we've recorded a podcast job and guide as well. Happy listening. Hi, today on The Money Makers by Sophia, we're here with Yvonne Leung, Head of Managed Solutions for J.P. Morgan Private Bank Asia. Yvonne, it's so great to have you with us today. I'm really excited about this podcast. We've talked about this for such a long time. First, let's talk about you: give us a brief
introduction of yourself and what you do for the bank. Yeah, thanks for having me here. Christine. Thank you so much for the time today. I've been in the financial industry for more than 20 years, I run the managed solutions business within the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Asia. And within the private bank, we're keen to learn more about our clients and see how we can help them achieve their long term goals, whether it's like short term or long term, it was never about what we want our clients to invest in based on market conditions. But to understand more about their goals based on their goals, we plan and come up with different actual investments that meet their requirements. And also preferences. That's what we call goals-based planning, which we can talk a little bit more about later on. But as it's market independent. So the most interesting part of our job is to guide our clients towards how they'd like to express their views and preferences on their portfolio, whether this is discretionary strategies or mutual funds in different regions or themes. And it's a lot of explaining to do with clients because often they need to spend a lot of time, resources and even interests to make decisions on what they want to own on their portfolio. And it all depends on the client's situation. And we're here to help them make the most appropriate recommendations. I love that and really is that when we're building wealth, especially for women, it has to start with goals. Right, Yvonne? So I want to talk about you know, both organizations, both Sofia and JPMorgan were focused on helping women build wealth. You know, talk to me about a key lightbulb moment that you had for you in your investing journey. And, you know, maybe share some principles that you hold close when it comes to investing your own wealth. Well, there are quite a lot of them.
When I first started, I'll just share a key one. When I first started investing towards the later part of my college years, like a lot of my peers, we buy companies or stocks that we like the ones that we were familiar with, it's all the Hong Kong blue chip names as well. We didn't have a plan, we didn't pay much attention to how much we own on individual stocks and percentage of my portfolio. We thought that we have like an ongoing stream of new money meaning our salary, but I've actually gone through different cycles so the dotcom bubble was okay, I didn't have a big portfolio. SARS affected Hong Kong but I had less of that back then not a large amount and the market was on the rise even with bumps along the way didn't occur to me that I there's anything that could go to wrong until the financial crisis hit and I participated back then in a share save program at the company that was working at back then. So meaning we bought shares at a discount. So just as the market turned to receive the shares, and then the share price actually plummeted.
by 70% in just a matter of months. So since I've participated in the program for a few years, so I've actually accumulated quite a lot of data and that amount was actually quite substantial. So I wasn't aware of how much I'm concentrated to just one company. And that was the pivotal moment where I had to reassess and take the right action, did a lot of self reflection and realize that I was lack of long term foresight, I need a more sustainable financial plan. I need to think seriously what my long term goals are, I still had a long career ahead of me back then. But I had to think about when do I want to make major investments? When do I want to retire? And what's that retirement life going to look like? etc. So I don't talk to talk, but walk the talk. So I work backwards to see what needs to be done. And taking a long term lens definitely helped me back then. I love everything you've said, because it's really about having that long term view when it comes to building wealth. And you know, we always say it, Sophia, it's about time in the market, not timing the market, right? And it's really so important to think about that, especially when you think, for example, about S&P 500 returns over history. We're really excited as Sophia to be working with J.P. Morgan Private Bank throughout the year on an amazing program called Women and wealth with Asia as the fastest growing wealth creation hub for women, which is super exciting, of course. I mean, I'd love to hear how J.P. Morgan approaches Wealth Management with women's unique needs in mind. How do your female customers tell you, they see their wealth journey? Yeah, before I share how they think about their wealth journey. And maybe I
can also share how I see the female investor base evolved within the private banking space over the years. When I first started my career, I dealt with a lot of clients from Hong Kong, and they were first generation they created wealth through their businesses or real estates that they've invested in. Most of the time, when they brought in the second generation, it's mostly sons, we were told that the daughters are actually more interested in the non investment related side of things. But there are still professionals like accountants and lawyers, but they're just not as interested in investments. Over the last 10 years, we've increasingly seen parents brought in daughters into the investment dialogue, because some of them started to worry about the financial education that their daughters might be lacking to deal with the wealth that will be passed on to them, especially for those who have only one
child. And also more women have become more financially independent, they want more control of what they want to invest not being told by what you should be invested in. They want to express their preference, values based investing, like leaning more into areas that they're more interested in, like education, equality, climate change, etc. And women do have an advantage in investing. So as human beings, we do have emotions, and they could impact our investment decisions, often irrational ones. There are a lot of empirical studies that substantiate that. However, contrary to a lot of what people expect, there are in fact, research indicating women tend to be less emotional when making investment decisions, because when they listen to their feelings, they're more aware of the impulses triggered by
the emotion of greed. And they're more likely to resist the impulse to overreact by trading too much on new information. However, when speaking to women clients is also very interesting. They tend to feel less positive than male investors around investments. So women feel the stress and anxiety when it comes to investments. And that's also the reason why a lot of women tend to hold more of their assets in cash and fixed income, and avoid equities or alternative assets. So to a certain extent, there's nothing wrong with that. But it's very important to see if these investment can help them achieve their long term goals, they just need to understand the trade offs. There's no free lunch like less risk, less return in general is never going to change. But for example, if they invest only in cash or fixed income, then they're exposed to inflation risk. So not just the 2-4-6 percent inflation headline numbers that you hear from the news, but it's everywhere. Look at the prices of the handbags, some of the brands have raised prices like double digits, not naming names,
but we see the C brand and the H brand.
And we may not be able to afford the same bag with the same amount of money over the
next few years. So on a more serious note, though, to overcome the anxiety, knowing the
fundamentals that become even like more important to women investors to build the right
level of confidence instead of being affected by the often exaggerated headlines on the
news. This is where we can come in to share more and look under the hood for them. And
women are actually more detail-oriented. So they're more proactive in asking questions, more
vocal about their concerns or feedback. So it's actually good for us to understand the gaps
and what they're trying to achieve. So back to the goals-based
I was talking about the different goals around liquidity needs preservation needs, like maintaining purchasing power that I was talking about, how do they define their assets, how much they want to leave to the next generation, and also growth, wealth perpetually. Wow, that really resonated with me every single thing you said. The other thing, just to kind of, you know, bounce off, what you're saying is that women are, and this is a stat that I love to talk about, women are twice as likely to incorporate ESG factors into their investing, right. And so it just brings a whole new perspective into values based investing, and really investing with a long term view. So that's absolutely incredible. So I want to switch gears now. And really talking about, you know, how we can grow our wealth, right, despite the investment climate that we find ourselves in, growing our wealth through investing in the financial markets has certainly been somewhat more challenging, you know, in 2022, with most asset classes,
seeing record lows, right against, you know, the overall market volatility picture after a decade plus of easy monetary conditions. I mean, I think every single investor I spoke to last year and every probably every financial institution felt, you know, there were not that many places to hide, right, that was a common sentiment. But you know, this is an interesting year, we have a different market picture. So tell us, in your view, and J.P. Morgan's view, what are three things in the financial markets that we need to be thinking about? For 2023, we've seen already a lot of turmoil and financials, especially just in March 2023, alone, but yet in the same breath, the NASDAQ closed 15%, higher on the year as at the end of March. So how should we be thinking about investing through all market cycles and across asset
classes this year? Yeah, March was definitely a turbulent time. But there's always something in the market every year that makes us nervous about investing, but the market is anti-gravity. So it's always on the uptrend in the long run, I would say. So viewing things through a longer term lens would help bring down the level of anxiety and avoid making irrational investment decisions. So for 2023, three things in the market that we need to think about his first inflation, second rates. And I would say the third thing around recession. So while we're making good progress on the inflation front, for example, wage inflation and other measures of labor market tightness, like job openings, and quits, do not suggest wage spiral even though the labor markets remain recently, and inflation is the key to inform fat
about its rate decision. But with inflation being relatively sticky, still, the most likely cause of getting things under control looks like a recession shouldn't be a deep one. The growth slowdown recently has been pretty benign. So there are still a lot of uncertainties in the market, just like any other year, there's always something to happen in the market. Like I said, that makes us nervous about investing. But as long term investors with a dramatic reset in valuations experienced last year, we've come to one of the most attractive entry points for stocks and bonds over the decade, we believe a multi asset diversified portfolio would continue to outperform cash and inflation. And besides the long term, multi asset
portfolios, everyone should build to whether different stages of market cycles for this year, in
particular core fixed income, meaning treasuries or high quality corporate bonds, etc, now offers the potential for protection, yield, and capital appreciation. So the largest US bond index we've seen is actually down 10% from its all time high. And this is still the biggest dip in the core bonds that investors have had the opportunity to buy over the last 40 plus year. So all in all, diversification is the key to investing long term. And it helps manage risk better and manage anxiety better and to help clients achieve their long term goals. And again, tying back to the goals based approach that I alluded to earlier, there are different buckets of goals that they want to achieve, like liquidity reserve or even like growing their wealth perpetually. Wow, you've said a lot. But I think you really touched on the very most important points, right? It's about inflation, fixed income and recession. So it's important to understand
those three things. And you've given us some fantastic ideas on how to manage those three things. So I want to close with, you know, understanding kind of, from your perspective, if you are talking to a woman trying to build her wealth, you know, what would you say to her about, you know, something that you've learned, or something that you hold close when it comes to creating wealth for the future? What's the nice inspirational thing that you can leave our listeners with today?
One thing I always keep in mind is steady hands prevail. We have to be conscious about making rational decisions, especially during volatile moments. As a reminder, do nothing is also an active investment decision so you don't have to buy or sell. And during troubling time, that's often the worst moment. Most important thing is to review what you have on your portfolio on a regular basis and see if you're still aligned to your North Star. Again, don't lose sight of your plan and your long term goals and there's a lot of noise in the market. Stick to your Northstar, and stick to your long term wealth planning goals. I love that. Thank you so much for being with us today, Yvonne. And we'll catch you another time. Thank you. Before we wrap up today, here's a few jargon words we talked about in the podcast. Inflation.
Inflation refers to the price increase of a basket of goods and services. Do you notice your favorite luxury handbag seems more expensive now? You aren't dreaming. It's inflation. Flights seem extra pricey? Inflation again, the opposite is deflation, which refers to the decrease in price levels of goods and services. This is not to be confused with disinflation, which means that the rate of inflation is temporarily slowing down, S&P 500. This stands for Standard and Poor's 500, which is a stock market index, which tracks 500 of the largest publicly listed companies in the United States. Many investors consider this index to be the best overall gauge of US stock market performance. Diversification is an investment strategy. And it simply means not putting all your eggs or investments in one basket, or that you aren't just investing in the same thing. As you build wealth. You also need
to think about how you can ensure that you're reducing the risks of your investing activities, because each investment may react differently to certain world or market events. And that's why diversification is an important investment concept.
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