Jeffrey Lam is the Chamber's Legco Representative
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Social and economic development is not possible without investment and talent. As such, developing Hong Kong into a leading family office hub is not only conducive to attracting capital and talent from around the world, but also the growth of the asset and wealth management sector.
To this end, the Government issued a Policy Statement on Developing Family Office Businesses in Hong Kong in March, setting out eight policy measures. These include introducing a new Capital Investment Entrant Scheme; providing profits tax exemption to family-owned investment holding vehicles (FIHVs) managed by single family offices in Hong Kong; setting up the Hong Kong Academy for Wealth Legacy; enhancing the application procedures for recognition of tax exemption status of charities with a view to developing Hong Kong into a philanthropic centre; and expanding the role of the dedicated FamilyOfficeHK team in InvestHK to offer tailor-made services to family offices that want to set up and expand their business in Hong Kong, etc.
As a leading international financial hub, Hong Kong boasts a sound legal system, simple and low tax regime, free flow of capital, a full range of financial products, and a large pool of financial talent. With our robust banking system, strong securities and capital markets, and professional asset and wealth management services, we are well equipped to provide diverse and reliable services to family offices.
Chief Executive John Lee recently visited the Middle East and Thailand, and I was part of the latter delegation. Eyeing Hong Kong’s legal and tax advantages as well as the rosy prospects of the Greater Bay Area, many family offices and businesses in Thailand and the Middle East expressed an interest in establishing a presence in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s strength lies in leveraging on the Mainland while engaging with the international community, with the city continuing to serve as a bridge between China and the world. Indeed, our unique strengths have proven to be appealing, as can be seen by the success of the Wealth for Good in Hong Kong Summit hosted by the Government: the event was attended by more than 100 decision makers from global family offices and their professional teams from the Mainland, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
In the long term, the sizeable assets of family offices will have a multiplier effect on the overall economy by creating more business opportunities for sectors such as financial services, and asset and wealth management. However, as the Chinese saying goes, “It takes a good blacksmith to forge good steel.” To seize the opportunities ahead and achieve fruitful results, Hong Kong must consolidate and enhance its advantages.