ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Business booming for high net worth families in Hong Kong: study

Hong Kong businesses said to be flourishing for the past two months.

Hong Kong once again took back fifth place amongst 111 as a leading global finance and business centre from Singapore according to a survey published by London-based think tank Z/Yen Partners and the China Development Institute.

The city was among the top five centres in terms of the business environment, human capital, infrastructure, financial sector development and reputation, and took the first place based on trading, according to the report.

Wealth management company ZENDRA noted that its business has been booming for high net worth (HNW) and ultra high net worth (UHNW) families in Hong Kong, as the rich seek to protect their assets and plan for the future generations.

“In many ways, global and local political instabilities, as well as the pandemic, have acted as something of a supercharger for us, catapulting business enquiries around areas such as pre-immigration planning, succession planning, trusts and other asset protection structures to manage wealth for future generations. Ironically it is when people feel threatened that they are more likely to look to establish or review their existing succession plans," said Jacqueline Shek, executive director, trust services, ZEDRA.

The company noted the recent growth in business activity in the Asian region, particularly in Hong Kong. "A consequential pattern which ZEDRA has seen emerging over the last 18 months is an increase in demand for family office services from successful Asian family entrepreneurs," Shek said.

"Asian businessmen and businesswomen have very specific needs and increasingly prefer a global wealth management solution. Our typical clients are likely to be multi-banked and seek an open architecture platform, which will enable them to select specific expert advisers, according to their exact requirements. They also need a level of cultural understanding and linguistic competence to deliver global best practices," she added. "A new generation of confident, successful Chinese, Hong Kong and Southeast Asian entrepreneurs are setting the bar ever higher.”

Amongst their Asian counterparts, China is seen as the main growth engine for wealth management business. Notedly, the Hurun China Rich List recorded more wealth created in 2020 than the previous five years combined, Shek noted.

Established in 1999 by Rupert Hoogewerf, the Hurun Report is widely recognised as the foremost authority in tracking the rapid changes amongst China’s HNW population. The Hurun report’s findings are echoed by UBS and PwC’s 2020 Billionaire Insights Report showing that despite the pandemic, the total number of Chinese billionaires increased to a new record of 415 with a total wealth of more than $13.02b (US$1.68b) by the end of July 2020.

(US$1 = HK$7.75)

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