Subject: financial affairs, commerce and industry

  • In 2019, over 1 300 ultra-wealthy families had set up private offices in Asia for multiple purposes such as wealth management, succession planning and philanthropy. As the average value of asset under management ("AUM") of these offices can reach US$808 million (HK$6.3 billion) globally, they are considered as the "jewel in the crown" of the wealth and asset management business.1Legend symbol denoting In 2019, global family offices managed over three-fourths of the total wealth of UHNW families. See INSEAD (2020) and Financial Services Development Council (2020). In view of the significant spill-over benefits onto wider economy, many Asian governments are competing hard to attract domiciliation of family offices. Hong Kong appears to have potential to develop as a regional hub of family offices, given its (a) entrenched infrastructure as one of the premier global financial centres; (b) large population of 9 500 people with an ultra-high net worth ("UHNW") of over US$30 million (HK$233 million) in 2020; and (c) strategic position in the Greater Bay Area which is home to over 10 000 UHNW families located on the Mainland.2Legend symbol denoting Financial Services Development Council (2020) and Wealth-X (2021).
  • After policy pledges in the 2020 Policy Address and the 2021-2022 Budget, the InvestHK has just set up a dedicated team (i.e. "FamilyOfficeHK") in June 2021 to offer "one-stop support services" for family offices. However, there are ongoing concerns that tax regulation in Hong Kong is not competitive enough to become a regional hub, given that "taxation regime is one of the most important considerations" to the location choice of family offices.3Legend symbol denoting GovHK (2021) and Bloomberg (2021).
  • In Asia, Singapore has been vying for the family office business for years. Through streamlining regulation and introducing many incentives, Singapore is becoming one of the most favourite destinations in Asia for setting up new family offices and/or relocating existing ones. This issue of Essentials begins with recent global trends of family offices, followed by respective policy measures taken in both Hong Kong and Singapore.

Recent developments of global family offices

Recent policy measures on family offices in Hong Kong

Recent policy measures on family offices in Singapore

Prepared by LEUNG Chi-kit
Research Office
Information Services Division
Legislative Council Secretariat
13 August 2021


1.In 2019, global family offices managed over three-fourths of the total wealth of UHNW families. See INSEAD (2020) and Financial Services Development Council (2020).

2.Financial Services Development Council (2020) and Wealth-X (2021).

3.GovHK (2021) and Bloomberg (2021).

4.Capgemini (2012) and INSEAD (2020).

5.Forbes (2018) and PwC (2020b).

6.INSEAD (2020).

7.Some jurisdictions (e.g. the Cayman Islands) have gradually implemented "economic substance requirements" since January 2019 stipulating (a) a minimum number of employees hired; and (b) a prescribed amount of annual expense incurred for maintaining business registration of funds domiciled there. Offenders will have their information disclosed to their home countries for taxation purposes, weakening the attractiveness of the offshore fund model. See Asia Business Law Journal (2020b).

8.UBS (2019).

9.South China Morning Post (2020a).

10.Wealth X (2021).

11.Over 15% of UHNW population in Mainland China is located in the Greater Bay Area. See Caproasia (2020).

12.Financial Services Development Council (2020) and Legislative Council Secretariat (2021).

13.KPMG (2020).

14.Securities and Futures Commission (2020).

15.According to FSDC, personal investment companies and trusts are other types of structures commonly found for family offices. See Financial Services Development Council (2020) and South China Morning Post (2020a).

16.Budget Speech (2021).

17.Deloitte (2021) and KPMG (2021).

18.Asia Business Law Journal (2020a) and Inland Revenue Department (2020).

19.Round-tripping refers to local residents setting up a shell entity overseas as its pre-dominant shareholder and abusing tax exemption for funds to shelter otherwise taxable profits in Hong Kong. See Inland Revenue Department (2020) and The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (2020).

20.By now, offshore funds would need to create a new fund vehicle in Hong Kong before transferring their assets and shareholders from overseas. Issues of concerns include (a) adverse impact on investors' existing rights and liabilities of those funds; and (b) exposure to additional stamp duty in Hong Kong. In July 2021, the Government has introduced a bill on creating a statutory re-domiciliation mechanism to the Legislative Council for scrutiny. See Asia Business Law Journal (2020a). 

21.KPMG (2020).

22.Monetary Authority of Singapore (2020a).

23.These include Offshore Fund Tax Exemption Scheme, Singapore Resident Fund Tax Exemption Scheme and Enhanced Tier Fund Tax Exemption Scheme. See Grant Thornton (2020).

24.The pre-conditions of some tax exemption schemes (e.g. a minimum AUM and annual business expense) will only apply to the VCC master fund level. As such, small-sized sub-funds can entitle to the same tax benefits without satisfying those pre-conditions individually.

25.There are over 280 VCCs registered in Singapore as of June 2021. See PwC (2020a) and Investment Management Association of Singapore (2021).

26.EY (2019).

27.Deloitte (2019).

28.Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (2017) and Monetary Authority of Singapore (2020b).

29.These requirements include (a) investing at least S$2.5 million (HK$14 million) in a Singapore-based SFO with AUM over S$200 million (HK$1.1 billion); (b) having at least five years of entrepreneurial, investment or management track record; (c) personally holding assets of at least S$200 million (HK$1.1 billion); and (d) submitting a 5-year business plan of that SFO.

30.They are Sergey BRIN (co-founder of Google), Sir James DYSON (founder of Dyson Limited) and Ray DALIO (founder of the largest hedge fund globally) amongst others. See South China Morning Post (2020b).

31.Parliament of Singapore (2020 and 2021).


Hong Kong

1.Asia Business Law Journal. (2020a) Can Hong Kong lure funds away from their favoured offshore jurisdictions. 29 September.

2.Asia Business Law Journal. (2020b) Back off black. 11 November.

3.Bloomberg. (2021) Hong Kong Gives Funds Tax Concession to Bolster Finance Center. 28 April. 

4.Budget Speech. (2021) The 2021-22 Budget.

5.Caproasia. (2020) Interview with Dixon Wong, Head of Financial Services at InvestHK.

6.Deloitte. (2021) Hong Kong SAR Budget 2021/2022: Deloitte's Commentary.

7.Financial Development Services Council. (2020) Family Wisdom: A Family Office Hub in Hong Kong.

8.GovHK. (2021) Govt to attract more funds to HK. 10 June.

9.Inland Revenue Department. (2020) Departmental Interpretation and Practice Notes No. 61: Profits Tax - Profits Tax Exemption for Funds.

10.KPMG. (2020) Hong Kong Private Wealth Management Report 2020.

11.KPMG. (2021) Hong Kong: Asia's leading asset management hub.

12.Securities and Futures Commission. (2020) FAQs: Family Offices. September 2020.

13.South China Morning Post. (2020a) Hong Kong rolls out red carpet to offer city as Asian family offices hub to manage the fortunes and investments of wealthy clans. 18 November.

14.The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries. (2020) Offshore fund exemption regime for Hong Kong - domiciled funds.


15.Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. (2017) Inward Re-domiciliation Regime in Singapore.

16.Deloitte. (2019) Singapore Business Tax developments - Committed to your success.

17.EY. (2019) The Asian Family Office: Key to Intergenerational Planning.

18.Grant Thornton. (2020) Singapore fund management structuring round-up. 25 March.

19.Investment Management Association of Singapore. (2021) Singapore's MAS preparing VCC 2.0 in bid to lure more managers. 28 May.

20.Monetary Authority of Singapore. (2020a) FAQs on the Licensing and Registration of Fund Management Companies.

21.Monetary Authority of Singapore. (2020b) VCC Grant Scheme.

22.Parliament of Singapore. (2020) Approvals given for high net worth individuals to set up family offices In Singapore. Written Answers to Questions, Vol. 95, 5 October.

23.Parliament of Singapore. (2021) Number of family offices currently set up in Singapore and their contribution to Singapore's economy. Written Answers to Questions, Vol. 95, 5 April.

24.PwC. (2020a) Singapore Variable Capital Company - The game changer for asset management in Asia Pacific.

25.South China Morning Post. (2020b) For Asia's super-rich, Singapore family offices keep the wealth churning - but Hong Kong wants a piece of the pie too. 21 November.


26.Capgemini. (2012) The Global State of Family Offices.

27.Forbes. (2018) The Rise of The Family Office: Where Do They Go Beyond 2019?. 17 December.

28.INSEAD. (2020) Family Offices: Global Landscape and Key Trends Final Report.

29.PwC. (2020b) Asset and wealth management revolution: The power to shape the future.

30.UBS. (2019) The Global Family Office Report 2019.

31.Wealth-X. (2021) World Ultra Wealth Report 2021.

Essentials are compiled for Members and Committees of the Legislative Council. They are not legal or other professional advice and shall not be relied on as such. Essentials are subject to copyright owned by The Legislative Council Commission (The Commission). The Commission permits accurate reproduction of Essentials for non-commercial use in a manner not adversely affecting the Legislative Council. Please refer to the Disclaimer and Copyright Notice on the Legislative Council website at for details. The paper number of this issue of Essentials is ISE23/20-21.