On Tuesday 18 July, Robert Moore, Director – UK, hosted a breakfast roundtable at Coutts Private Bank on the Strand in London, which was attended by over 30 London-based intermediaries.

Key highlights from the discussions at the roundtable:

  • Focussed on the Chinese private wealth sector, the event opened with a market update from Dr Kevin Lin, Coutts International Adviser for Asia. This was followed by regional updates from Jersey Finance’s Maria McDermott, Business Development Consultant for Asia, and Yiow Chong Tan, Business Development Director for Singapore.
  • Discussions then opened up around the table as the attendees shared their thoughts and experiences on doing business in Asia.
  • China is the biggest threat to America but the two countries must continue to trade and the UK has to follow suit. There is plenty of business to be had outside of China and it needs more trade and investment.
  • Now that the borders have opened, trading is back to normal and China is particularly keen to do business with the west. Chinese investors are becoming more open, taking into account corporate governance and economic substance, and these trends can also be seen in Singapore.
  • Entrepreneurs are a target market, as they are easier to navigate through the AML and onboarding processes. Investors are diversifying and becoming more sophisticated.
  • The RMB was the fourth most traded currency in 2022 and the IMF has predicted a growth rate in Chinese GDP of over 5% for 2023.
  • Singapore has seen a 10x growth rate in family offices as they take advantage of the tax situation in the country, which is seen as a safe place in which to do business.
  • Hong Kong is trying to attract SFO business from mainland China and Singapore is following suit. It is common for Jersey to be used to set up holding structures for SFO business in Singapore.
  • Regulatory laws are presenting challenges – there is increasing scrutiny so we have to find new ways to address those challenges. The Government is keen to attract more inward investment.
  • There are more opportunities for the UK to do business with Asia. COVID has pushed business to other areas, for example Vietnam, which is opening up more doors. It is, however, important to consider the political aspects of trade and investment.
  • As the priority in Asia is taking care of the family and what’s best for them, it is therefore important to consider what we can do to attract those who think they don’t need to move out of mainland China. The UK is well placed to do that and continue to improve over the next few years.