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Hong Kong sees slower mutual fund growth

The city’s assets under management (AUM) in asset and wealth management only reported a 2% year-over-year increase for 2021, official figures show.
Victoria Harbour Sunset, taken at Tsim Sha Tsui port of HongKong Star Ferry, in November 2019.

Hong Kong’s asset and wealth management sectors reported an AUM of HK$35.55trn ($4.56trn) in 2021, according to the Asset and Wealth Management Activities Survey by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). 

While this represents a 2% increase year-on-year, the growth rate has tumbled from 21% in 2020

By the end of last year, AUM for licensed corporations and registered institutions increased year-on-year by 8% to HK$25.89trn, while AUM for private banking and private wealth management business recorded a year-on-year decrease of 6% to HK$10.58trn. 

The SFC said the decrease is due to changes in the values of underlying investments held by clients. 

In 2021, the city reported net fund inflows of HK$2.15trn, representing a 6% year-on-year increase from HK$2.04trn in 2020. 

Over the year, the number of Hong Kong-domiciled SFC-authorised funds increased by 7% year on-year to 865. 

The net asset value increased by 5% year-on-year to HK$1.50trn, with the overall net inflows amounting to HK$121bn. 

Rise of retail investors 

By client type, professional investors including corporations, governments, family offices and institutions accounted for 69% of Hong Kong’s asset management and fund advisory business. 

The AUM attributable to professional investors increased 3% year-on-year from HK$17.14trn to HK$17.70trn, mainly contributed by corporations, financial institutions and funds. 

Yet the AUM attributable to non-professional investors, including retail investors, jumped 19% year-over-year to HK$7.95trn in 2021, from HK$6.66trn in 2020. 

This represents 31% of the whole asset management and fund advisory business in 2021, compared with 28% in the previous year. 

Public funds, including both SFC-authorised funds and those from other jurisdictions, continue to be the largest category within the business, accounting for 37% of the business in Hong Kong in 2021. 

It is followed by managed accounts (31%) and private funds (17%), including hedge funds, private equity and venture capital. 

ESG funds 

In June 2021, SFC issued a circular to provide guidance to management companies of SFC-authorised unit trusts and mutual funds on enhanced disclosures for funds which incorporate ESG factors as a key investment focus. 

As of end-March, there were 121 SFC-authorised ESG funds with a total AUM of $142.7bn. 

This represents a year-on-year increase of 2.7 times in terms of number and 1.9 times in total AUM, the SFC noted. 

The number of SFC-authorised ESG funds has further reached 135 as of 30 June. 

Part of the Mark Allen Group.