Hong Kong launches Academy for Wealth Legacy

The family office sector in Hong Kong is “thriving” and has “strong momentum to grow further” said Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui at the launch of the new Hong Kong Academy for Wealth Legacy (HKAWL), which was established under the Financial Services Development Council (FSDC), on 14 November.

The HKAWL is dedicated to invigorating a vibrant ecosystem for family offices worldwide through fostering collaboration, networking, knowledge sharing and talent development across the sector. It aims to guide next-generation wealth owners and private wealth management professionals with a view to strengthening Hong Kong’s position as a centre for managing family wealth legacies.

“The establishment of the Hong Kong Academy for Wealth Legacy is one of the eight initiatives of the government’s policy statement on developing a vibrant ecosystem for global family offices and asset owners,” said Hui. “The academy will serve as a training hub offering continuous knowledge exchange and networking sessions, bolstering the sustainable growth of the entire family office ecosystem in Hong Kong.”

According to industry estimates, there were over 150,000 ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs with investable assets of at least USD30 million) in Asia in 2022, representing one-fourth of the global UHNW population.

As of end-2022, Hong Kong’s asset and wealth management business was worth approximately USD3.9 trillion, with USD1,148 billion in assets under management in private banking and private wealth management. As wealth continues to accumulate in Hong Kong and Asia, the next 20 to 30 years will be an important time for family offices to plan for wealth succession.

Apart from such core functions as investment management and tax planning, family offices also shoulder responsibilities in the management of family business, succession planning and training for the next generation, family philanthropy, and education and inheritance of financial management concepts covering social responsibility and sustainable development.

Family offices not only assist asset owners in achieving wealth growth and succession goals but also transmit family values to wealth inheritors, playing a vital role in maintaining family values and enhancing family cohesion.

“The HKAWL will examine in detail diverse topics on wealth management, family governance and intergenerational integration, impact investing and philanthropic impact, as well as art development,” said Hui.

“The HKAWL will also provide tailored training and networking activities for the family office sector, asset owners and wealth inheritors, with a view to promoting positive financial management values and strengthening the talent pool for family offices.”

Adrian Cheng, CEO of New World Development, has been appointed as HKAWL chair. He made special mention of the younger generation and women, who he said are increasingly taking on a significant role in family businesses.

“Today we are faced with a number of factors that will decidedly transform the global wealth management landscape for the coming decades,” said Cheng. “Among them is the emergence of the gen Z and the Alpha gen, who are entering the family businesses, and their upbringing interests and ambitions will impact the long-term strategy of their family offices.

“There are more woman board members and entrepreneurs than at any other time in recent history, which presents changes and opportunities in respect of the demand for financial and wealth management services.”

Looking ahead, following the successful ‘Wealth for Good in Hong Kong Summit’ held in March this year, the Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau and InvestHK are making active preparations for conducting the second Summit themed “Growing with Certainty Amid Growing Uncertainty” in late March next year.

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