Many first-generation family office owners have come to recognise the necessity sound governance and efficient execution of their operations that can only be found in bespoke and professional management, thus raising the need for talent in this sector, says Grant Ko, Vice Chairman, Family Office Association Hong Kong.
The family office industry across Asia and in Greater China has been supercharged by the region’s surging wealth, and the Greater Bay Area is on course to generate billions of wealth management revenue in the next decade.
With Hong Kong already in the game, the question becomes whether the family office hub’s talent pool can match and sustain the development of this flourishing industry.
Traditionally, family offices in Asia are managed by family members, though as the needs and demands of family offices evolve and diversify, many first-generation family office owners have come to recognise the necessity of a clear strategy, sound governance and infrastructure, and efficient execution of their operations that can only be found in bespoke and professional management.
It is without surprise that talent and human capital is at the heart of family office operations, which nowadays are supported and enabled by innovative technologies to serve the ever-increasing complexity and diversity of the financial and non-financial needs of family offices. The everyday operations of family offices can encompass frequent transactions, data analysis, and risk management, including emerging or unknown cybersecurity risks.
Therefore, the management of a family office requires holistic understanding and sound organisation of a family’s needs, and can lead to a rewarding and enriching career.
One of Hong Kong’s inherent advantages is its deep pool of financial service and professional service talent, many of whom have already joined the family office industry, leveraging their professional backgrounds in investment, wealth management, legal, and tax advisory. Nevertheless, as the family office industry continues to grow and as more family offices are founded in the city, the talent gap that is already present in the industry is at risk of further widening and could hinder the sustainable development of the entire industry.
In addition to bankers, investment specialists, tax experts and lawyers, family offices need all-rounded management talent who are passionate and have a thorough understanding of the purpose of family offices, how family offices operate, and their wide spectrum of functions. More than ever, the industry needs specialised talent in information technology and risk management to prepare itself in response to the emerging challenges emerging at the present and in the future.
Talent is fundamental to the sustainable growth of any industry, and we are pleased to see that both the government and the wider financial services industry have recognised the urgency of talent development to maintain Hong Kong’s competitiveness as an international financial centre. The Financial Services Development Council has set out recommendations for Hong Kong to enrich its talent pool, particularly in the areas of fintech and ESG . In this context, family offices can play a role in grooming, retaining, and attracting talent in different areas through accelerating the application of fintech and integrating ESG elements into family offices operations and investments.
We believe that bringing together the government, businesses, and academia to nurture the next generation of family office executives is important for the long-term sustainable development of the family office industry.
Talent is also an important pillar in facilitating Hong Kong’s development as the family office hub of Asia. It is encouraging to see some family offices playing their part through offering internship opportunities to students and graduates to provide exposure to a passionate and interesting career in the family office industry.
Fresh talent can bring fresh perspectives. Family offices are already pivoting to responsible investments and are at the forefront of supporting and giving back to society. Hong Kong is already in pole position to leverage its integration with the Greater Bay Area, to help train, nurture, and enrich family office talent pool and to capture and serve the region’s newfound wealth. We are excited and remain committed to do everything we can to hand hold the future generation and guide them to a rewarding and progressive career in our blossoming industry.
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