Hong Kong still growing as Asia’s regional wealth hub

Hong Kong is poised to expand as a global hub of private wealth management, thanks to robust GDP growth, increased levels of personal savings and an upsurge of self-made billionaires across the Asia Pacific region. Having lived and built several asset management businesses in the area for almost ten years, I monitor the region closely and maintain many connections with friends and business partners in the region.

Thanks to strong GDP growth, higher levels of personal savings and many more self-made billionaires across Asia, there are now more wealthy families and individuals in the region than in North America or any other emerging countries in the world. And Hong Kong can capture much of their need for private wealth management – a sector of financial services poised to undergo tremendous growth.

According to a recent report by PwC and Hong Kong-based Private Wealth Management Association (PWMA), 10 of the 30 global cities with the most billionaires are in Asia, and Hong Kong is only second to New York. The report, citing Asian Private Banker data, notes a 6.1 percent jump in the total assets under management (AUM) among the top 20 wealth managers in Asia to reach US$1.55 trillion in 2016.

Hong Kong continues to experience growing wealth, with 72 billionaires, 4,600 Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) and 238,000 High Net Worth (HNW) Individuals in 2016. The PwC report, which is based on responses of 33 PWMA member firms in a survey, estimates that current assets under management in the city exceed US$800 billion – a significant increase from a total of US$700 billion indicated in the inaugural survey published last year.

“Some of that is no doubt due to rising asset prices over the previous year, but it’s generally consistent with the growth seen over the last five to six years in other data sources,” says Peter Stein, Managing Director of PWMA. “Hong Kong itself is a major source of that growth – it is home to 72 billionaires, more than any other city in the world except for New York, according to Wealth-X.