DiamondsAs Hong Kong continues to attract vast amounts of wealth, businesses are lining up to play their part. Stefanie Eschenbacher visits the latest newcomer.

Interior design projects are yet to be completed on the sixth floor of Hong Kong’s fourth tallest and most distinctive skyscraper, the Bank of China Tower. There, the Bank of China (Hong Kong) is preparing for the launch of its private banking arm, scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year. And its final look is so shrouded in mystery that even the company logo is still hidden under a dust cover.

Wendy Tsang Kam Yin, managing director, head of private banking, is sitting in her new office, surrounded by designers who are adding the final touches.

“With global wealth shifting to Asia, especially China, this is a very natural development for Bank of China (Hong Kong) to extend our services to high-net-worth individuals,” she says. “Our private banking services will offer our clients a one-stop platform that combines traditional banking, corporate banking and investment banking services to meet the dynamic needs of this new generation of wealth.”

Hong Kong is where East meets West, promising opportunities for banking, investment and custody.

Extensive network
Tsang says the number of first or second-generation entrepreneurs in the region is growing and they are looking for more dynamic wealth management services, beyond wealth preservation. “There are quite a lot of overseas interests and opportunities driven by the internationalisation of the renminbi,” she says, adding that one of the services her team plans to offer will be helping clients to issue and distribute dim sum bonds.

Wang says the private banking arm plans to leverage on the parent company’s extensive network, which should help clients to grow their assets instead of only preserving them.

“We aim to capture the renminbi business investment potential and focus on the potential to satisfy the demand for renminbi products,” she says. “We see opportunities to grow our business in China and elsewhere in Asia.”

The launch of the private banking business will follow that of the asset management business and custody business.

When Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei designed the Bank of China Tower, he took inspiration from the elegant structure of bamboo – its sectioned trunk reaching higher and higher with each new spurt of growth.

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