Royal Insignia – Nurturing the culture of gifting

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    • A craftsman works on the engraving of a domed building modelA craftsman works on the engraving of a domed building model
    • Rachel Ho, director at Royal Insignia, shares about the company’s storyRachel Ho, director at Royal Insignia, shares about the company’s story
    07 September 2021

    From kings to the dearest of kin, Royal Insignia’s bespoke luxury pieces have found their way into the hands of some of the world’s most distinguished personalities.

    Since its establishment in the 1990s, the Singapore-based atelier has carved out a name for quality, meticulous craftsmanship and luxury gifting. Its clientele now spans royal families across Southeast Asia, to the Middle East and Africa.

    Items are adorned with precious metals and gems, and painstakingly handcrafted over months – often leading to a high capital outlay. But financing isn’t the only way long-time banking partner UOB has supported the company.

    As the second generation took over the family business, UOB introduced them to ‘The Business Circle’ – a platform for second-generation business leaders to network and exchange ideas. When the business diversified its revenue streams to include luxury chocolates and fine enamelling services, UOB provided the financial support and contacts needed to explore overseas markets.

    In this episode of Building Asia with UOB, see how UOB's long-term commitment, financial solutions and advice support the continued growth of this bespoke business.



    Rachel Hoe (Director, Royal Insignia):
    Royal Insignia is an atelier that crafts bespoke, luxury gifts. Our team of craftsmen and engineers create exquisite gift items for royal families and heads of state. Over the past decades, we’ve carved out our name in quality.

    Royal Insignia was founded by my father, Ivan Hoe. My father started his journey with a medal workshop in Singapore and his work eventually took him to Europe and the UK. There, he met mentors who taught him about the art of orders, decorations, and medals.

    Every piece that Royal Insignia creates goes through a painstaking process. From design to prototyping, to handcrafting the final piece by our in-house team of craftsmen and engineers.

    Eric Tham (Managing Director and Head, Group Commercial Banking, UOB):
    UOB’s relationship with Royal Insignia started in the 1990s. Their founder wanted to build a brand that specialises in a niche industry. As their banker, we needed to understand the uniqueness of their business model.

    Since the business is dealing in raw materials such as precious metals and gems, this meant that capital outlay would always be high.

    Rachel Hoe:
    We started banking with UOB immediately upon establishing Royal Insignia. The original team provided the guidance and confidence for my father to grow his business.

    This sharpened the financial acumen of not just my father but also my siblings and myself, who now run the business.

    Eric Tham:
    The partnership with Royal Insignia is now in its second generation. Rachel and her team bring new ambitions and ideas.

    As their financial partner, we don’t just support them with financing, but also in their professional growth.

    Rachel Hoe:
    UOB has a platform called The Business Circle. It allowed us to network with like-minded peers to exchange ideas and create opportunities.

    As Royal Insignia’s next generation, we have to diversify. UOB provided financing for us to bring in the Southeast Asian franchise for Läderach chocolates. We are working closely with UOB to expand the brand beyond Singapore.

    Eric Tham:
    We also connected them with business contacts in the region. This is possible because of UOB’s broad regional network and deep sector expertise.

    Rachel Hoe:
    We must build on tradition. We are offering our expertise to independent luxury watch and clock makers from around the world.

    We leverage on the experience of our engineers to provide these brands with prototyping opportunities and our enamellists are on hand to create tiny works of art on each dial.

    Eric Tham:
    Royal Insignia is a specialist business with a rich legacy in gifting. We will continue opening doors to new opportunities for them.

    Rachel Hoe:
    With these capabilities, a diversified revenue stream, and our continued financial relationship with UOB, we can approach the next lap with confidence.

    About this series

    Building Asia is a collection of business stories on CNA that examines the financial forces driving Asia's position as an economic powerhouse.

    Royal Insignia – Nurturing the culture of gifting is the 13th episode in the Building Asia with UOB series and was first aired on 6 September 2021. It looks at how atelier Royal Insignia expanded over the decades, diversifying into new business streams as the second generation of leaders took over the family business.



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