Knowledge Exchange

Understanding the Family Office Industry in Hong Kong

Jacky Leung (Class of 2018)

Family offices comprise a high-end subset of the private wealth management business, becoming increasingly important to the whole financial services industry. With the mature and sophisticated financial market, Hong Kong is a natural choice for family offices which are eager to establish a presence in the Asia-Pacific region. We invited Jacky Leung, HKU MBA Class of 2018 Part-time Graduate and Senior Vice President of Family Office at InvestHK, to share his industry insights and experience in wealth management and family office business.


1. As Senior Vice President of InvestHK’s family office, what is your main responsibility?

The family office business has flourished in recent years, becoming an important growth segment in the wealth and asset management industry. To further develop the family office business in Hong Kong, InvestHK has set up a dedicated team to step up promotion of our advantages in local and other major markets, and offer one-stop support services to family offices which are interested in establishing a presence here.

We will step up our efforts in further attracting family offices to establish a presence in Hong Kong by considering the provision of tax concessions, thereby enhancing Hong Kong’s status as an international asset and wealth management centre.


2. Can you introduce some of the projects that your team is working on?

To assist family offices with their operation in Hong Kong, the dedicated team remains in close dialogue with government departments and regulators such as the Immigration Department and the Securities and Futures Commission. InvestHK and the dedicated team actively organise and participate in many seminars, conferences and industry events for family offices and the industry in Hong Kong, Mainland China and overseas. They range from networking events which provide a socialising platform for the industry, and workshops in partnership with industry organisations on topics of interest, to keynote speeches which promote Hong Kong’s competitive advantages as a family office hub.

The Family Office HK team has successfully assisted a significant number of family offices in setting up or expanding their business in Hong Kong (including Mainland China, European, ASEAN and North America family offices). Highlights of some of the successful cases can be found at the dedicated team’s website:


3. Can you share some of the latest market trends that you have witnessed in wealth management and the family office industry?

Hong Kong was the world’s largest offshore RMB hub and Asia’s second largest private equity fund centre. It has also been the world’s top listing platform, ranking number one seven times over the past 13 years, in terms of funds raised from IPOs. It is an offshore financing centre for Mainland Chinese enterprises as much as it is a major channel for international funds to enter the Mainland Chinese market.”

Hong Kong is also the destination of choice for many ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals from Mainland China, especially entrepreneurs based in the Greater Bay Area, for setting up their family offices. Many of these entrepreneurs have plants or businesses in the Greater Bay Area, and some of them have their enterprises listed in Hong Kong. Naturally, Hong Kong is their preferred base for managing their wealth and for succession planning.


4. How do you foresee the future of the family office industry in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong has a wide array of investment opportunities to offer, thanks to its highly open and internationalised market, time-tested regulatory system, legal structure, and free flow of information and capital. It is the prime choice for family offices looking to achieve long-term investment goals.

Furthermore, the enormous assets managed by family offices would also be diverted towards various investment projects. In the long term, the capital flow would be favourable for fostering the development of various financial ecologies, which would benefit the Hong Kong economy at large.


5. There are many candidates aspiring to have a career in wealth management. How can they equip themselves with the required skill sets? What would be your advice for them?

It would be vital for potential candidates to have strong international exposure as well as a good understanding of the government policies of China and Hong Kong to excel in the wealth management industry. Studying the latest financial policies of the major economies in the world and China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (14th FYP) could be good starting points to equip oneself.


6. What was your main motivation for pursuing the MBA Programme?

Stay hungry, stay foolish has always been my motto. I always look to gear myself up for future challenges. After completing some professional designations in my own field, such as the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), I would like to explore business administration further. My want to better myself and further equip myself with new skills and knowledge motivated me to pursue the MBA programme.


7. How has the MBA programme helped your personal or career development?

It’s multi-dimensional, the HKU MBA programme enriched my vision and professional knowledge, deepening my understanding of corporate strategies and risk management.

It’s a self-discovery journey. I have met many interesting people and learnt about different cultures throughout the MBA journey. I am glad that there is good diversity in the HKU MBA programme; classmates from different parts of the world inspired me throughout my MBA journey.


8. We learnt that you started some new roles during your MBA studies. Can you share what these new roles were and how you balanced these roles?

In the same month I began my MBA journey, I was onboarded at a new job and I had a newborn baby to take care of. It looked like mission impossible at the very beginning. However, the versatile programme design of HKU MBA made things possible, with the flexibility of switching between the weekday and weekend modes to cater to my personal needs.

Having strong determination, self-discipline and good time-management are also crucial for success, as I have to juggle my job, family, and other important priorities. I remember the days I cuddled my newborn baby to sleep, then worked on my essays till 4am and got up for work the next day at 7am.

I would like to take this chance to thank my wife and family for their support and care, so that I was able to spend my time studying for MBA lessons and stay in the library researching essay topics over most weekends. I am glad that two years of hard work paid off, as I got on the Dean’s honour list and graduated with distinction.


9. What was most memorable about your MBA journey?

The friendships I have built throughout the MBA journey are the most memorable element for me. I appreciate the openness of the HKU MBA programme; I have come across alumni and people from all different eras and I am still hanging out with several groups of MBA classmates.