The family office industry in Hong Kong is looking for designated professional training and private networking opportunities from the city’s newly established family office institute - the Hong Kong Academy for Wealth Legacy.
Launched by the government on November 14, players in the family office industry in Hong Kong are hoping the institute will equip the financial centre with a deeper talent pool for generations of wealth beyond investment management and advisory.
The remarks came as the Hong Kong government’s Financial Services Development Council established the designated academy for talent development and networking in the family office industry, which is part of the government’s initiative to build the city into a leading family office hub globally.
The institute operates in a company-limited structure with eight board members, chaired by local business conglomerate New World Development’s Chief Executive Officer Adrian Cheng Chi-kong.
New World Development
Other board members include Hong Kong property developer Sino Group’s deputy chairman Daryl Ng Win-kong, UBS’s chairman of global wealth management in Asia Amy Lo Choi-wan, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s adjunct professor of finance Roger King.
The academy also consists of 16 advisory board members, including Philip Lawrence Kadoorie from the Kadoorie family, former HSBC chairman David Eldon, Thai businessman Alex Jiaravanont, and Dorsett Hospitality International president Winnie Chiu Wing-kwan.
At the inauguration ceremony on November 14, Cheng noted that the academy will focus on cultivating professionals who understand the right corporate governance for a family office, while addressing multiple global trends in family wealth management.
These include impacting investing; the emergence of next-generation successors with demand for family wealth and legacy preservation and transition; more women leaders in the family business; and the rise of unicorns and startups by millennials who may have more diverse and innovative wealth management demands.
“We are committed to providing ongoing training, knowledge exchange and networking sessions for both industry practitioners and next-generation wealth owners…to help and strengthen the values, legacies and wealth of different types of family offices,” Cheng said during a launch ceremony.
The Hong Kong government has a target of attracting 200 new single family offices to the city by 2025.
Industry players welcomed the launch of the academy, expecting it to become a venue for knowledge and experience sharing.
“The essence of a family office is beyond investing,” Ronald Chan, founder and chief investment officer of Chartwell Capital told AsianInvestor.
He also stressed that the right governance within the family is vital to ensuring the sustainability of family wealth and legacy, which could expand into philanthropy, trust setup, and succession planning.
“I think this academy is exactly the right venue to bring together like-minded individuals as well as family offices to explore all these topics that are way beyond just where you put your money,” Chan said.
He applauded the diverse professional and geographic backgrounds of the institute’s board members and advisors, hoping it could help uplift the conversation beyond the Greater China markets.
Agreeing with Chan, Cameron Harvey, CEO of Landmark Family Office, noted there are different aspects to a family office that one may not necessarily be aware of even if the person comes from a banking or asset management background, which Hong Kong has been mature in.
Stressing that investments are still core to family offices like Landmark, Harvey said he hopes the academy can provide professional training on understanding the complexity of how to run a family office.
It could be for junior practitioners who are new to the financial world and want to enter the family office industry; successive generations of wealthy families who are looking to set up or join a family office; or senior executives from other sectors such as banking and asset management but want to transition into the family office business and looking for upskilling, Harvey noted.
As a new family office recently launched in Hong Kong, he said besides investment professionals, Landmark is also looking for people who have experience or are keen to understand generational wealth, family business, and private family dynamics.
“It's really important for younger talent coming into the industry to understand how to position a family office and how it works,” he told AsianInvestor.
Besides the role of investment managers and professional service providers, industry experts also pointed out the importance of gatekeepers for family offices.
A senior family office advisor explained that there is a gap in Hong Kong’s talent pool of such roles, which are crucial to bridge external service providers and family members.
“They are the ones who understand how to navigate the family dynamic and help service providers better serve the family’s specific demand, which can be private to outsiders,” she told AsianInvestor.
Hence, any platform that can serve as a platform for both education and private networking is important to the development of Hong Kong’s family office industry, she said.
AsianInvestor will be hosting its Family Office Briefing in Hong Kong on November 28. For more details, click here.