Wan will soon go to the region to explore opportunities. After heading the BEA Union for 12 years, she will step down and pass the reins to Janet Li on receiving regulatory approval for the transition.
The company, a joint venture between Bank of East Asia and Union Asset Management, Germany’s second-largest asset management company, invests for many Hong Kong and overseas family offices. It managed about US$7.3 billion of assets as of the end of last year.
Wan said European family offices have used the city to invest in other Asian countries because of its active capital market, low tax rate and clear legal status.
Wan said the challenges are the volatile market and geopolitical tension between the US and China, which have led some investors to pull back from putting their money in Chinese assets.
“However, we also found some investors consider it is time to invest in the region as they consider the valuation of the Hong Kong market to be cheap,” she added.
Saudi Arabian companies such as the oil giant Saudi Aramco can apply for secondary listings in the city after Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) added the Saudi Exchange, known as Tadawul, to its list of recognised bourses.
The addition allows companies with a primary listing on the Saudi Exchange’s main board to apply for a secondary listing in the city, HKEX said on Thursday.
“The listing of Saudi Arabian companies in Hong Kong will attract more wealthy individuals and families from the Middle East to invest here. This will strengthen Hong Kong as a wealth management hub,” said Robert Lee Wai-wang, the lawmaker for the financial services sector and CEO of local brokerage Grand Capital Holdings.
The Hong Kong government in March unveiled measures to entice billionaires to set up family offices – corporations established to pursue investment, philanthropy and succession planning – in the city.
A revamped investment migration programme, tax breaks and art storage facilities are among measures that have been introduced with the aim of achieving Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s target of attracting 200 new family offices to the city by 2025.
Paul Knox, managing director and senior wealth adviser at JPMorgan Private Bank Asia, said these measures have already prompted many wealthy families to consider Hong Kong.
“There has been a lot of interest from mainland China because there is ease of access and they understand Hong Kong. However, we have also seen interest from other parts of the world, from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the UK as well as the US,” Knox said during a panel discussion at the Post’s “Redefining Hong Kong Series” – family office edition, on Wednesday last week.
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