Bank­ing on the Fu­ture

BOCHK’S suc­cess lies in its acute un­der­stand­ing of clients’ needs, matched by a full port­fo­lio of ser­vices

Hong Kong Tatler - - Tatler Focus Bank Of China (hong Kong) -

Walk­ing into the pri­vate bank­ing cen­tre at Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited (BOCHK), one is im­me­di­ately sur­rounded by or­nate sculp­tures, paint­ings and other works of art. For BOCHK’S head of Pri­vate Bank­ing, Wendy Tsang, they are much more than mere dé­cor. Draw­ing a par­al­lel with the pri­vate bank­ing in­dus­try as a whole, Tsang notes, “Art is sim­i­lar to our business, art can be seen as an in­vest­ment but art can also be very sub­jec­tive on a per­sonal level. In pri­vate bank­ing our business is not just about money, in or­der to de­velop long-term re­la­tion­ships we need to have a holis­tic un­der­stand­ing of our clients.”

Since launch­ing in 2012, the pri­vate bank­ing arm of BOCHK has en­joyed growth in what must be one of Hong Kong’s most com­pet­i­tive in­dus­tries. Tsang at­tributes much of this suc­cess to the heavy em­pha­sis placed on un­der­stand­ing its clien­tele and cater­ing for all their bank­ing needs.

“To of­fer ef­fec­tive pri­vate bank­ing ser­vices to clients, we need to have a plat­form that can align their per­sonal, fam­ily and business needs, which could in­clude ev­ery­thing from mi­gra­tion, ed­u­ca­tion, wealth man­age­ment, business de­vel­op­ment, share fi­nanc­ing, to even over­seas fund rais­ing. A bank with scale and who can pro­vide more ser­vices in an in­te­grated plat­form will

ap­peal to the new wealth,” says Tsang.

As the shift in global wealth con­tin­ues east­ward, the num­ber of wealthy en­trepreneurs in China is ris­ing at twice the rate as that of the de­vel­oped world. “We ex­pect in a few years’ time there will be more wealthy in­di­vid­u­als in China than the rest of the de­vel­oped world,” says Tsang. “Most of them are still at the wealth cre­ation stage, there­fore we of­fer a full ser­vice to help their business de­vel­op­ment, for their per­sonal and fam­ily we of­fer wealth man­age­ment and es­tate plan­ning. To this end we are of­fer­ing fam­ily trust, tax plan­ning, in­surance and over­seas in­vest­ments on a global plat­form.”

Be­ing able to lever­age par­ent company Bank of China (BOC)’S ex­ten­sive net­work in China means BOCHK can of­fer both cross­bor­der bank­ing ser­vices and ac­cess to global mar­kets, which is vi­tal for a di­verse port­fo­lio.

Tsang ex­plains, “Based on our ex­pe­ri­ence, we would sug­gest main­tain­ing a di­ver­si­fied port­fo­lio and not sim­ply a bal­anced one. We pro­vide in­sights on mar­kets as well as ad­vi­sory ser­vices across as­set classes and re­gions. We help clients man­age risks and at the same time give clients a bet­ter chance of max­imis­ing their profit.”

In a business that is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly global, things can change in a heart­beat but Tsang re­mains op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of the global econ­omy.

“I don’t think we are headed for another re­ces­sion; the US is re­cov­er­ing and we have the growth en­gine in Asia of which China is a ma­jor part,” she says. “After decades of dou­ble-digit growth, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment is tar­get­ing a more sus­tain­able growth with a 7.5 per cent GDP tar­get. China used to be more ex­port fo­cused and there­fore more af­fected by over­seas mar­kets, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment is now driv­ing to­wards do­mes­tic con­sump­tion to achieve a more sus­tain­able long term de­vel­op­ment.”

Eco­nomic changes are not the only ones that have been put into ef­fect in an in­dus­try that is still walk­ing the road to re­cov­ery. In the wake of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis there have also been nu­mer­ous reg­u­la­tory changes, and Tsang is one of the found­ing mem­bers of the Pri­vate Wealth Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (PWMA).

“PWMA is an in­dus­try body set up last year with two ma­jor goals. Firstly to set a common com­pe­tency stan­dard for in­dus­try prac­ti­tion­ers; with the support of the HKMA we in­tro­duced the En­hanced Com­pe­tency Frame­work that will set a common stan­dard, which in­dus­try play­ers must meet,” says Tsang. “Se­condly we would like to pro­mote Hong Kong as a pri­vate bank­ing cen­tre and we will also work closely with the reg­u­la­tory bod­ies to en­sure the reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment de­vel­ops in a way that helps to at­tract wealth to Hong Kong.” “Hong Kong of­fers a plat­form with world-class fi­nan­cial in­fra­struc­ture. With our close links to the main­land China, there are many un­der­ly­ing com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tages to de­velop Hong Kong into a lead­ing pri­vate wealth man­age­ment hub,” says Tsang.

“Nev­er­the­less, over the years, in­creas­ing em­pha­sis has been put on reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance, suc­cess­ful play­ers are those who can af­ford the surg­ing com­pli­ance cost yet able to de­liver best client ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing on board­ing and ad­vi­sory process. We have the new wealth in China, but how do we cap­i­talise on this ad­van­tage?” says Tsang.

What­ever chal­lenges lie ahead BOCHK Pri­vate Bank­ing is clearly look­ing op­ti­misti­cally to­wards a bright fu­ture for the in­dus­try and for Hong Kong, much like ap­pre­ci­at­ing a beau­ti­ful piece of art.

Wendy Tsang, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and head of Pri­vate Bank­ing, BOCHK

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