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Executive Summary

The number of affluent investors in Hong Kong grew to 2.4 million in 2015, achieving a lower rate of growth than its long-term average since the financial crisis rocked the market in 2008. Yet Hong Kong remains an attractive market. 40% of the adult population is considered affluent, comparable to markets in the developed West, while growth rates still resemble those found in the East. Growth going forward will be more modest for both affluent investor numbers and assets. But with affluent assets still forecast to achieve 7.2% annual growth over the years to 2019 - due to more residents moving into this class and a general appreciation of capital - Hong Kong retains much of its allure as a source of new clients for wealth managers.

Key Findings

The total number of affluent investors in Hong Kong is forecast to grow to 3.3 million by 2019.

Retail savings and investments are dominated by deposits, and despite the low returns on offer this is not expected to change as investors will remain cautious.

High net worth (HNW) investors are equally cautious in their onshore liquid investment portfolio allocations, with a modest 6.3% held in alternatives, commodities, and property.

Strong global links make Hong Kong HNW investors among the most ready to offshore, with 40% of their wealth booked offshore.


Verdict Financial's "Wealth in Hong Kong: Sizing the Market Opportunity" analyzes Hong Kong's wealth and retail savings and investments markets, with a focus on the HNW segment. The report is based on our proprietary datasets.

Specifically the report:

Sizes the affluent market (both by the number of individuals and value of their liquid assets) using our proprietary datasets.

Analyzes which asset classes are favored by Hong Kong's investors and how their preferences impact the growth of the total savings and investments market.

Examines HNW clients' attitudes towards non-liquid investments such as property and commodities.

Identifies key drivers and booking centers for offshore investments.

Reasons To Buy

Benchmark your share of Hong Kong's wealth market against the current market size.

Forecast your future growth prospects using our projections for the market to 2019.

Identify your most promising client segment by analyzing penetration of affluent individuals in Hong Kong.

Evaluate your HNW proposition by understanding how the local tax system affects your HNW clients.

Review your offshore strategy by learning HNW motivations for offshore investments and their preferred booking centers.


The Hong Kong wealth market remains highly appealing

Key findings

Critical success factors


Hong Kong's importance as an offshore center is growing rapidly

Mutual funds dominate the offshore market

Retail non-resident deposits constitute a relatively small proportion of total deposits

The onshore wealth market will continue to grow at a reduced rate

In Hong Kong, HNW individuals represent 1.3% of the total adult population

Affluent individuals will hold 96% of total liquid assets in Hong Kong


Hong Kong's retail investment market has performed strongly in recent years

Retail savings and investments growth will continue to support wealth creation

Investors in Hong Kong are strongly biased towards deposits

Bonds are the fastest-growing asset class

Deposit growth will continue to outstrip GDP growth

2015 was a challenging year for Hong Kong's economy

Interest rates will rise, but gains will be low once inflation is factored in

Bond holding growth will match real GDP growth through 2016-19

The Retail Debt Issuance Programme is helping stimulate bond growth

Equities and mutual funds are most allied to the performance of the Hong Kong stock market

Hong Kong's stock market has performed poorly in recent years, giving little capital appreciation to long-term investors

Despite a disappointing stock market performance, equity and mutual fund holdings experienced strong growth


HNW individuals in Hong Kong allocate 6% of their assets into non-traditional investments

Property dominates non-traditional investments

Dissatisfaction with traditional asset classes is driving demand for alternatives

HNW investors in Hong Kong hold 40% of their wealth offshore

Hong Kong's large expat base will appreciate providers that can assist with offshore investment

Access to better investment options and the expectation of better returns overseas are the biggest drivers of offshore investment

Tax is a comparatively limited driver for offshore investments

The offshore wealth of Hong Kong's HNW individuals is spread around the globe


Abbreviations and acronyms

Supplementary data



Common Reporting Standard





Liquid assets

Mass affluent





Global Wealth Model methodology

Global Retail Investments Analytics methodology

Verdict Financial's 2015 Global Wealth Managers Survey


Further reading

About Verdict Financial


Figure 1: Retail non-resident holdings amounted to USD 186.3bn at the end of 2014

Figure 2: Non-resident retail offshore deposits constitute a small but growing element of the Hong Kong market

Figure 3: 40% of Hong Kong's population can be considered affluent

Figure 4: Significant inequality means assets are more concentrated among the affluent

Figure 5: Hong Kong's retail savings and investments market will grow at a stable rate

Figure 6: Deposits dominate in the Hong Kong retail wealth market

Figure 7: Bonds will develop the most as a store of value for Hong Kong residents

Figure 8: Deposit holdings growth is forecast to exceed GDP growth

Figure 9: Bond holdings are forecast to experience significant growth

Figure 10: The performance of the local stock market has been weak in recent years

Figure 11: Direct equity investment growth rates have fallen since 2012 and are forecast to remain low

Figure 12: HNW individuals in Hong Kong only hold a small amount of illiquid assets

Figure 13: HNW individuals in Hong Kong currently hold 40% of their assets offshore

Figure 14: Access to better investment options is the biggest motivation for offshore investment

Figure 15: Stamp duty applies to the sale and lease of properties as well as equities

Figure 16: Hong Kong HNW investors use multiple offshore centers

Figure 17: Global DTAs and TIEAs signed with Hong Kong, January 2016

Table 1: Net chargeable income tax rates in Hong Kong, 2009-10 to 2015-16

Table 2: Standard tax rate scenarios, 2015-16

Table 3: Ad valorem stamp duty rates

Table 4: Stamp duty as per property lease

Table 5: Hong Kong: adult population segmented by affluent category and asset band (000s), 2010?14

Table 6: Hong Kong: adult population segmented by affluent category and asset band (000s), 2015e?19f

Table 7: Hong Kong: total liquid wealth segmented by affluent category and asset band (USD bn), 2010-14

Table 8: Hong Kong: total liquid wealth segmented by affluent category and asset band (USD bn), 2015e-19f

Table 9: Hong Kong dollar-US dollar exchange rate, December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2015

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