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Chinese HNW move toward wealth preservation

Wealth managers in China have to be more pro-active about promoting and educating clients about wealth preservation solutions, according to An Kelles, Hong Kong-based business development director for Greater China at Jersey Finance.

Citing a survey conducted by her organisation, Kelles said that nearly 80% of wealth managers indicated that their clients need to be educated about the newer wealth management solutions offered in China. These solutions include estate and wealth transfer, tax planning and trust and company management.

“Most of China’s wealthy don’t even know that trust structures exist,” she said.

Kelles explained that the goals of Chinese HNWIs have shifted from revenue growth to wealth preservation. However, a lot of them belong to the first generation of wealth and are not yet knowledgeable enough about how to preserve or transfer their wealth to the next generation.

“A lot of wealth management professionals and lawyers now have studied or worked abroad. So the knowledge is getting there, it is just that they are in their first steps,” she said.

Wealth managers promoting services related to wealth transition conduct a lot of seminars to educate their clients, according to Kelles. But she believes they should go beyond that.

“You have a lot of seminars, but the problem is sometimes they are just waiting for clients to come to them [and ask about their services].”

Wealth preservation has become an important goal for Chinese high net worth individuals, according to survey conducted by Bain & Company in October last year. Nearly 60% of HNWIs surveyed indicated that they are interested in wealth preservation and inheritance solutions offered by family offices.

China-based wealth manager Noah Holdings is one of the firms that have identified the need to offer wealth management services beyond investment solutions.

William Ma, Noah’s Hong Kong-based chief investment officer, said previously that the firm has been focusing on bringing a “holistic” approach in response to the increasing demand for asset preservation solutions.

These services include philanthropic planning, wealth management, insurance advisory, trust and company management, estate and wealth transfer, tax planning and compliance and business succession consulting.

He also added that the firm plans to move away from just being a distributor of products and manage more discretionary mandates for Chinese clients.

Part of the Bonhill Group.