FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong trails behind Singapore in asset management business

The city managed US$31.8b in private wealth compared to Singapore's US$53.4b.

Hong Kong is lagging behind close regional competitor Singapore in the asset management business, according to a report from Asian Private Banker and Julius Baer, although the two bustling financial centers are easily dominating the growth of the region's asset management scene.

Hong Kong is home to 70 IAMs that manage an estimated US$38.1b in private wealth in 2017 whilst Singapore hosts an estimated 90 independent asset managers with assets under management (AUM) clocking in at US$53.4b over the same period. 

The combined private wealth of the two hubs hit US$91.5b as of end-2017, accounting for 5% of regional high net worth wealth.

"The robust financial performance of IAMs in Hong Kong and Singapore, along with their burgeoning market share, allows us to say with confidence that the IAM market in Asia is ready for take off,” said Stratos Pourzitakis, head of research at Asian Private Banker.

However, Europe still leads the global asset management rankings with 2,500 firms operating in bank secrecy capital Switzerland alone to manage an estimated US$430b in private wealth.

“Flexibility in product offering and a client-centric strategy lie at the core of the IAM business model, and they offer a significant differentiator in Asia's rapidly evolving wealth management industry," Pourzitakis added.

Nevertheless, a growing number of high-net worth individuals settling in Hong Kong may soon boost the city through the rankings as Hong Kong emerges as the ninth richest in the world and third richest in Asia, according to Knight Frank’s 2018 City Wealth Index.

Hong Kong, together with China, is home to 5,140 individuals who are worth over US$50m in 2017, which accounts for 14.33% of Asia’s ultra-wealthy population.

It also shares sixth place with San Francisco and Melbourne as a global investment destination as Mainland Chinese investors are opting to increase their deposits in the neighboring SAR.

Despite having a higher number of HNWIs than close regional competitor Singapore, Hong Kong lags behind in overall global rankings against New York, London and Tokyo who are poised to take the global economy by storm in 2022 as they have the highest forecast GDP of a whopping US$1.8t, US$1.6t and US$1.1t respectively.

Overall, Asia accounts for almost a third (27.66%) of the world’s global multi-millionaire (US$50m+) population as a 15% rise in Asia’s ultra-wealthy took its population to 35,880 and taking Europe out of the running. 

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