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Chinese private clients are increasingly interested in private trust companies in offshore centres

Date: 15 Apr 2015

Citywealth

Paul Christopher, Managing Partner at Mourant Ozannes, says that Chinese private clients are increasingly interested in private trust companies in offshore centres

Is the uncertainty in Europe causing your clients to move or seek to start their businesses in Hong Kong?

I do not see that in my practice so much. Anecdotally, you hear that Russians are lately more interested in banking in the region but I personally have not seen that as an increasing trend.

Where does the wealth of Chinese UHNWs come from, i.e. what kind of businesses?

In mainland China, it is mostly first generation wealth built by the same person who created the business. That is very different from how wealth was generated in Europe where there may have been several generations since the original creator of the wealth.

Do you see any difference in succession planning in Asia that are different from the Western world?

Different regions in China have different levels of experience with succession planning. In Hong Kong, private clients have generally more experience with wealth management. However, the one child policy in mainland China completely changes the dynamics of succession planning.

Another obstacle to the development of the succession planning industry is low cultural awareness – this industry is still a new concept in mainland China. There are significant cultural and language barriers

Are there any trends you’ve seen in Asia relevant to the private wealth market?

There is a great deal of interest in private trust companies in offshore centres such as BVI, Cayman, Guernsey, and Jersey that Chinese clients find appealing. There is often a tendency to try to find structures where the patriarch – creator of the family wealth Рcontinues to have influence.

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