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China’s rich skirting Hong Kong to seek asset safety elsewhere

HONG KONG – Rich Chinese are expected to park fewer funds in Hong Kong on worries that Beijing’s proposed national security law for the city could allow mainland authorities to track and seize their wealth, bankers and other industry sources said.

More than half of Hong Kong’s estimated private wealth of over US$1 trillion (S$1.4 trillion) is from mainland individuals who have parked money there, according to bankers.

The city has benefited from its proximity to China and separate legal system, as well as its dollar-pegged currency, but there are now worries about it losing its edge as a global financial centre due to capital and talent flight.

Interviews with half a dozen bankers and headhunters have revealed that some Chinese clients are looking for other hubs as their main offshore wealth base with Singapore, Switzerland and London high on the list.

One Chinese client who had been scouting investments in Hong Kong instead bought five apartments this week in Singapore via a newly set up family office, said the person’s adviser with a European wealth manager.

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