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EDITOR'S NOTE

Protection is key

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MANY parents dream of raising a child who goes on to be a doctor. Among the Koh siblings - children of veteran banker Edmund Koh of UBS - there are two doctors.

The vision which they hope to deliver through their digital healthcare start-up WhiteCoat is to make healthcare so accessible that it comes close to having a doctor in your family.

Bryan Koh, WhiteCoat founder and chief executive, says the goal is to "bring accessible, affordable healthcare to people, anytime, anywhere".

The on-demand service - or nearly so, as there are plans to roll out a 24-hour service - is available through an app on your phone, without the lengthy wait that is typically associated with a visit to the clinic. His sister Natalie, a cardiologist, is WhiteCoat's visionary.

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With WhiteCoat, which employs a team of doctors, a consultation is completed in an average of 11.5 minutes including payment. Medication is delivered to you within two hours.

The elder Mr Koh, who is president of UBS Asia Pacific, UBS Group AG, and a member of the UBS Group executive board, has provided seed funding and serves as mentor and strategy coach. He says the project has further cemented an already close-knit family. "I've groomed great bankers who have gone on to bigger jobs than me - why not do this for my family? This project that turned into a business has brought us very close as a family."

In less than a year of operation, WhiteCoat has had approaches from investors keen to become partners and provide capital.

Our latest edition has the theme of protection, an aspect which is relatively untapped among high net worth individuals (HNWI). A number of studies have found that HNWIs are under-insured, yet there is a strong case for them to consider taking up insurance, whether for wealth structuring and estate planning purposes or to hedge the risk of high healthcare costs.

In the Spotlight column, we look into universal life policies, which offer a large death benefit. With some insurers, the average size of UL policies taken up by clients is from US$10 million to US$15 million. This helps wealth owners to further enlarge their estate which may be distributed according to their wishes. Demand for UL policies has moderated somewhat over the past year as higher interest rates make premium financing less attractive.

But advisers are confident that the need for wealth planning, which surveys show remains inadequately addressed among HNWIs, will help to drive demand.

In the Roundtable, Deepak Khanna, HSBC Bank head of wealth development, says insurance solutions can help kickstart conversations about legacy, and help clients "articulate, create and implement a plan to efficiently transition their wealth to loved ones".

Another protection tool to consider is healthcare insurance, which we highlight in an article. There is a variety of plans that offer global coverage, which can include benefits such as dental care, maternity cover and emergency evacuation, alongside the core benefits of inpatient care. HNWIs who seek the most luxurious of healthcare should consider a plan to hedge the risk of an outsized bill. In the Asset Manager column, Paul Milon of BNP Paribas Asset Management argues that the ever-increasing gap between the supply and demand for clean water will need substantial capital investments. He makes a case for exposure to investments across the water value chain, from water infrastructure and treatment to utilities.

Meanwhile Tara Loader Wilkinson explores Trisara, a luxury eco resort in Phuket, where jaw-dropping ocean views are framed by facilities and services steeped in sustainability.

We hope you enjoy this issue and wish you a rewarding investment journey.

Genevieve Cua
Wealth, Editor