To Hong Kong for our latest Sovereign Story where Alan Fong has recently been appointed Commercial Director. His family trace their roots back to Hong Kong but Alan’s back story also involves County Durham, South Wales and a Chinese takeaway. When we spoke to him to learn more, his marked Welsh accent was coming through loud and clear.
Born in County Durham in the north of England “forty-something” years ago. Alan’s parents had moved from their Hong Kong home some time previously. When he was just seven, the family moved to Barry in South Wales which continues to be home for his parents to this day.
An English and Cantonese speaker, Alan grew up in Wales. He studied at Swansea University and worked in finance after graduation in the region including Cardiff and a spell in Bristol. He admits though that his first work experiences “followed the stereotype” as he “peeled spuds” from a very early age at his parents’ Chinese takeaway. He describes himself as coming from a hard working family and his “BBC” (British-born Chinese) background has instilled in him a serious – some might say old fashioned – work ethic that has served him well throughout his career.
Eleven years ago, Alan made the decision to return to his family roots by moving to Hong Kong. In search of new work experiences, he hadn’t factored in almost immediately meeting the lady who was to become his wife four years later. The couple are proud parents of a daughter and a son.
Upon arriving in Hong Kong, Alan followed the traditional ex-pat route and was headhunted by a local financial services firm. Four years later he applied for a role at Sovereign and joined the Group in July 2015. Since then he has concentrated on client relationship management – and on 1 August this year he was appointed Sovereign’s Hong Kong Commercial Director. For this STEP qualified consummate professional this new role will see him deepen still further existing links with intermediaries and create new contacts to develop the business even further. He sees the role as “selling himself” where he is supported by Sovereign’s core values and strength of its brand not just in Asia but worldwide. His primary aim is to promote local company and trust structures but as elsewhere around the group he is well placed to assist clients keen to establish in other jurisdictions as required.
What does Alan think of the prospects for Hong Kong as Asia’s premier business centre? Recognising the challenges brought about by Covid in particular, Alan is genuinely enthusiastic for the future. He considers those businesses – such as Sovereign – that have not only survived but have remained resilient during the pandemic are now set fair to exploit the pent-up demand that exists for Hong Kong company and trust structures. Alan points out that Hong Kong is still an excellent place to do business, with its unique status as a gateway into China and the possibility of listing on the HKSE. There is no need for resident directors and a limited territorial taxation system is in place. All bodes well for a bounce back in terms of new business despite the somewhat precarious nature of the current worldwide geopolitical situation.
And when he gets time away from the office? This dedicated family man chuckles. His lists his interests as family, family – and family. Benefitting from their annual pass, a favourite destination for his children is Disneyland Hong Kong where you can find Alan’s family a couple of times every month.
It is clear that the new Commercial Director is flourishing and that he and his wife are enjoying raising their children in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. He adds that a family trip back to Barry might be on the cards before too long. We wish him well on his new appointment and will watch this space with interest. Thank you for your time Alan and good luck.