Hrishikesh Unni: Charting a Path to Financial Prosperity

Hrishikesh Unni: Charting a Path to Financial Prosperity

Hrishikesh Unni , Managing Director

Hrishikesh Unni

Managing Director

Leaders in the wealth management industry embody exceptional qualities that set them apart. They possess a profound understanding of the intricate financial landscape, enabling them to navigate complexities with remarkable foresight and decision-making prowess. These leaders exhibit unwavering integrity, serving as beacons of ethical practices and setting high standards for the industry. Hrishikesh Unni is a member of Taurus Wealth Advisors, a global integrated wealth management firm serving clients internationally. Hrishikesh has a comprehensive background in private banking, with a total of 22 years of experience. He spent the first 5 years focusing on global projects at Citigroup Private Banks in New York and London from 2000 to 2005. After completing his INSEAD MBA in 2006, he embarked on a 6-year tenure with Barclays and Standard Chartered private banks in London, serving clients in East and Southern Africa.

He joined Taurus Wealth Advisors in 2013, as a senior advisor focusing on clients in Africa and Asia. With his extensive background and expertise, Hrishikesh brings valuable insights and knowledge to his role at Taurus Wealth Advisors. Engaging in an idiosyncratic interaction with CEO Insights Asia, Hrishikesh shares the imperious details of his success mantra, his leadership approach and his vision for Taurus Wealth Advisors. Let’s hear it from him.

You possess 22 years of experience working in the industry. What is your success mantra and the motivation that drives your daily routine?

There are four key factors that drive me and shape my approach to work. Firstly, finding enjoyment in what I do is crucial. Whether in a senior or junior role, it is essential to discover that sweet spot where passion and fulfillment intersect. This may take time, but it is a fundamental component. Secondly, identifying what I am good at is vital. While I may enjoy wealth management and connecting with people, recognizing and honing my abilities is equally important. Feedback and the ability to interact effectively with clients and colleagues reinforce that I am operating within my sweet spot.

Thirdly, making an impact is a significant aspect. This can manifest in various ways, such as helping clients navigate and adding value to their wealth management needs or developing other team members. It also extends to making a difference in the larger ecosystem, particularly in growing and promoting the concept and benefits of family offices. Lastly, continuity and sustainability are essential. While achieving business goals and milestones is commendable, it is crucial to run a business on a set of principles and values such that it can exist in perpetuity. By ensuring sustainability, the family office model and its unique approach to wealth management can thrive for generations to come. Throughout this journey, I always keep my values intact and do things I enjoy such as spending time with my family, playing tennis, painting, and more. My upbringing and self-developed values serve as a guiding compass, ensuring that my actions align with my principles. It is essential to avoid compromising one's values, even when pursuing endeavors we enjoy.

How would you define Taurus Wealth Advisors as an integrated wealth management organization and its position in the financial services industry?

Taurus is a multi-family office and offers comprehensive advisory and management services in portfolio management, succession planning, insurance, and other personal wealth management areas. It was founded by Mandeep Nalwa, a former Citibank professional, in 2008. We have offices in Singapore, Dubai, and Zurich and have a team of 60 professionals, overseeing $3 billion in assets for clients across 25 countries.

While achieving business goals & milestones is commendable, it is crucial to run a business on a set of principles & values such that it can exist in perpetuity

While the family office concept is still emerging in Asia, Taurus stands out as one of the region's oldest and largest players. We have earned recognition and prestigious awards for our expertise and exceptional service quality. What truly sets us apart is the combination of our extensive experience, significant asset size from clients across multiple locations, and industry acclaim. Moreover, our team's unique expertise and individual talents cannot be replicated elsewhere, creating an inherent distinction that contributes to our continued success.

Tell us about the unique traits of your leadership. What are the methodologies you follow to lead your team?

Leadership, in its essence, is about having followers and not necessarily only about having people working for you. As a leader, it is crucial to comprehend what motivates each team member, whether it's financial rewards, career advancement, or personal growth. It is important to assess and deliver on these aspirations fairly and effectively, within the framework of the company, while delivering on your business goals. Another key aspect is aligning the team with the company's vision and goals. Open feedback and communication are essential to ensure that everyone feedback allows for adjustments and adaptations along the way. Clearly defining the vision and actively involving team members in shaping it fosters a sense of ownership and commitment. Lastly, developing people is a fundamental responsibility of a leader. Encouraging continuous learning, providing opportunities for growth, and being humble enough to learn from others create an environment where individuals can thrive. At Taurus, we strive to cultivate a culture that not only imparts knowledge but also fosters a strong value system such that our team members gain a higher level of expertise and personal growth than when they joined us.

What is your anticipation about the outlook of the market? Where do you see yourself headed towards in the upcoming years?

In the realm of wealth management, the family office model presents abundant opportunities in Asia and Africa that have yet to be fully explored. The potential is vast, not only for our firm but also for other like-minded entities seeking to capitalize on the growth of the wealth in these regions. As we expand our presence from Singapore to Dubai and Zurich, with plans for further growth, we remain committed to demonstrating the value this model can offer to clients who have not yet experienced this unique perspective on wealth management. Office expansion and talent acquisition are constant discussions and integral parts of our strategy. However, we prioritize a risk-managed approach, ensuring the careful stewardship of our current resources while riding the wave of growth. Personally, after almost a decade with Taurus, I feel deeply connected to the organization. The four factors that drive me remain steadfast, and as long as they hold true, I am committed to this journey for the foreseeable future. Under the guidance of our exceptional leader, Mandeep, and alongside our remarkable team, the potential for success is undeniable. Even after ten years, I am filled with excitement for the next decade and beyond, as we continue raising awareness of the family office concept and nurturing the entire ecosystem. It is an opportunity for personal growth and development as well, making the journey more fulfilling.

"At Taurus, we go beyond just managing assets, we cultivate meaningful relationships &empower our clients to navigate their financial journeys with confidence"

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs and leaders in the industry?

My advice would be to first understand the family office model and how it can add value to clients and then join the industry if you believe that it is the optimal way of approaching wealth management and serving client needs. If the model is not for you, it’s still important to understand how it can coexist with other areas within wealth management and play an instrumental role in developing the industry.

Secondly, if you decide to take the family office route, undoubtedly, challenges will arise as you strive to grow your business, with the regulatory landscape constantly evolving and some individuals dismissing the value of the model. Throughout our 15-year journey, we have encountered and triumphed over significant obstacles. It is vital to be aware of the challenges that lie ahead, but with unwavering belief in our model, we can address them head-on. Thirdly, the potential within the industry is vast, and competition in family offices, while intense, can be viewed as a healthy dynamic. It is important to stay focused on our own path, rather than succumbing to the influence of others.

Hrishikesh Unni, Managing Director, Taurus Wealth Advisors

Hrishikesh Unni is from Kerala, India and grew up in Tanzania, Zambia and Swaziland. He earned his IB Diploma from Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa in Swaziland; his Bachelors in Economics from Cornell University; his Masters in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from INSEAD in Singapore/France. Hrishikesh received the 'Outstanding Young Private Banker' award at the PBI Global Wealth Summit and Awards held in Singapore in 2017. With a comprehensive understanding of banking, credit, investments, and wealth structuring, Hrishikesh effectively addresses the financial needs of his clients, leveraging his vast knowledge and experience to provide tailored solutions.

Favorite Hobbies: Tennis, Golf, Sketching, Painting, Cooking

Favorite Cuisine: Kerala, Korean, Thai

Favorite Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favorite Travel Destination: Vietnam, Zambia, Kenya, Botswana

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