This news service recently sat down with a Singapore-based wealth management business that has been formed by a group bringing varied experiences from law, investment and private banking. Farro argues that its strength lies in the fact that it aligns itself more tightly with what clients actually want.
Serving the needs of ultra-high net worth individuals and families and the businesses they run requires years of experience, and such clients are most receptive to people who’ve got their hands dirty working in this space. Step forward Singapore-based Farro Capital.
Farro, a multi-family office with more than $1 billion of assets under management was established in the latter part of 2022. It took its name from an ancient grain that dates back many millennia and still thrives today.
“We see ourselves as an extension of a family and see ourselves in this way when doing investments, structuring, legacy planning and other tasks,” Hemant Tucker, co-founder and chief executive, told WealthBriefingAsia in an interview. This publication met Tucker and his colleagues in the firm’s Singapore office.
There is a problem in parts of the banking and financial services sector over a general lack of “alignment of interest” between client and the firms – a point that Farro is trying to address, Tucker continued.
Tucker spoke alongside Manish Tibrewal, co-founder, and Mahesh Kumar, co-founder and managing partner. Tucker certainly knows the financial landscape and its pressures. He has 23 years’ banking, wealth management, corporate and investment banking experience. Among his roles was that of MD, market head for global South Asia and Middle East and global head of non-resident Indians at Barclays Wealth. He has also worked at UBS, ABN AMRO and BNP Paribas.
Tibrewal, meanwhile, was CEO at Maitri, the fund manager and multi-family office in Singapore. He has over 19 years of experience working in various leadership roles across India, Africa, and Singapore at the multi-billion-dollar Tolaram group.
Kumar, who was a tax partner at Withers Worldwide, is experienced in areas such as cross-border structures for funds, investments and business operations. He also advises on multi-generational succession, wealth planning strategies as well as structures for family offices, trusts and cross-border philanthropy.
What clients want
With all this experience across multiple fields, Tucker said Farro can cut to the heart of what clients want. Much of being a relationship manager in 2023 is about the ability to change and keep learning – something that applies to everyone.
Farro is all about building a “culture” that is the sum of the people in the firm and what they bring to the table, he said.
Tibrewal said wealth managers must increasingly focus on how Asia is not just a big driver of new wealth, but is witnessing a large amount of NextGen wealth transfer.
Recent dramas in the US and Swiss banking industry have only reinforced the case for unbiased advice, Tibrewal continued. “We remove [risk] and we bring independent risk management,” he said. Another issue is that while investment bankers have knowledge about specific financial topics – often superbly so – they aren’t necessarily experienced in handling the complex wealth needs of families, he said.
Farro charges fees as a percentage of client assets and is structured as a private company limited by shares. It has a team of 15 people.
As for Farro’s home turf, Singapore has become the best place in the world to hold this sort of family wealth, Kumar said, reflecting on his experience at Withers. However, a problem that families have wrestled with is their limited ability to “scale up” certain operations where necessary – hence the appeal of an MFO.
Asked later about the benefits of Singapore, the firm told this publication: “When one looks for an ideal location for setting up a family office, Singapore checks all the boxes: infrastructure to red carpet welcome from government agencies, and with growing geopolitical tensions, it will only benefit and cement its place as a leading global family office hub. We don’t see a shakeout in the foreseeable future as Asia will keep creating massive wealth for the decades to come due to its demographics, and Singapore is well poised to capture a big chunk of that.”