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The backstory: Hong Kong's Chief Executive John Lee is on a mission to attract family offices to set up shop in the city. These are basically establishments that the ultra-rich use to manage all their personal and financial matters. He's hoping to get at least 200 of these in Hong Kong by the end of 2025.
More recently: In 2021, Hong Kong's asset and wealth management businesses only managed to grow by 2%, reaching a total value of US$4.53 trillion (HK$35.5 trillion), while private banking and private wealth management assets took a 6% dive.
On the other hand, Singapore is killing it when it comes to attracting the super-rich. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the number of asset and wealth management businesses in the city-state has skyrocketed, boosting assets by over 15% to US$4 trillion (HK$31.7 trillion) over the same period.
The development: The Wealth for Good summit is happening on March 24, with big names from the business world attending, like Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang. The summit is all about discussing wealth and asset management opportunities in Hong Kong, and it's expected to draw over 100 representatives from family offices around the world.
The event will cover a range of themes related to "wealth for," including tech, art, green initiatives and philanthropy. The government will also announce new policies for single-family offices, including a tax concession, which will help attract new offices to the city.
"Hong Kong's more open system to allow capital flow freely and its historical exposure to the international markets are irreplaceable than other Chinese cities," said Dr. Tenpao Lee, professor emeritus of economics at Niagara University, to TMS. "Plus, Hong Kong is geographically very accessible to China's newly wealthy people, and Hong Kong has kept many Chinese traditions. Therefore, Hong Kong has some competitive edge over Shanghai and Singapore to become the hub for family office businesses in Asia."
"It will not only enhance Hong Kong's attractiveness and position as a family office hub, but also whip up the demand for asset management and other related professional services," said Hong Kong Finance Secretary Paul Chan in a statement in early March.
"Families in Asia with wealth are still running businesses for the most part and so they tend to work aligned with government," said Ruth Shapiro, CEO of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society. "These families are pretty adept at looking at government cues and seeing where the energy is, what the action is."
"We acknowledge that competition is keen," said Joseph Chan, undersecretary for financial services and treasury for the Hong Kong government. "Many different financial centers are also striving to gain market share in this business."