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China’s Noah opens WM office in Canada

Shanghai-based Noah Wealth Management has established a branch in Vancouver, Canada, to target the overseas Chinese investor base.
China's Noah opens WM office in Canada
Ivy Zhang, Noah Canada

The firm opened the subsidiary, Noah Canada Wealth Management, on 26 February in Vancouver. It is headed by Ivy Zhang, CEO of Noah Canada.

Zhang previously worked for the wealth management division of Investors Group, an affiliate company of Canada-based Power Financial, where she provided wealth management and wealth transfer services to high net worth individuals, according to the firm’s website.

The firm will provide global allocation and comprehensive wealth management solutions to investors in the country, Zhang told FSA.

“In Canada, investors are in need of allocating to global diversified and alternative investments, and to emerging markets, particularly China,” she noted.

Chinese immigrant clients

In September last year, the firm revealed plans to expand to Canada as well as Australia.

“Unlike in the US, Noah Canada will focus more on wealth management, where we find there is still an under-penetration of service for high-net-worth individuals,” Zhang said.

She said that few global players with experience in offshore markets offer services in the country, while local boutique and regional operators do not focus on offering service to clients based on cultural background. She believes a huge population of Chinese immigrants in Canada are potential clients for Noah.

“The community of Chinese immigrants in Canada is 1.67 million. In this massive group, some of them may already be a client of Noah or some may have heard of us. So naturally [targeting Chinese investors] would be the first step.”

In terms of headcount, the office is actively seeking candidates to join the 5-person team. She expects the team size to expand to at least 12 people by the end of the year. Currently, the firm is planning to bring on board employees in the area of compliance and portfolio management.

In three years, Zhang expects Noah Canada to be providing an integrated wealth management service, which is comprised of wealth transfer and local investment capability.

The Canadian subsidiary will target ultra high net worth clients with an investable assets threshold even higher than in the mainland and Hong Kong, in order to establish its brand.

At the opening ceremony of the subsidiary, the firm has also signed a talent acquisition pact with Vancouver city officials.

Four university students from University of British Columbia, University of Toronto and University of Waterloo will be invited to participate in a 12-week internship at Noah’s Hong Kong office.

It aims to offer hands-on experience and knowledge about Asia and China’s wealth and asset management industry.

Noah, along with Jupai, are China’s only two wealth managers listed in the US. As of the end of September 2017, Noah’s total number of registered clients was 175,979, with each client having a net worth of around $35-40m, according to its quarterly financial report. For each client, the average transaction size is approximately $800,000, the firm said.

Besides setting up in Shanghai and Beijing, Noah has offices in Hong Kong where it is licensed as a wealth and asset manager, as well as insurance broker. Its asset management arm is Gopher Asset Management.

In 2016, the firm established offices in New York and Silicon Valley, and the island of Jersey.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.