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Hong Kong’s Single-Family Offices -- Part I: The Old Money

by trusted insight posted 5years ago 10497 views

Hong Kong has a special place in Asia’s financial landscape. As a former British colony for nearly 100 years, Hong Kong was the only capitalist economy in the greater China area for decades, and from it sprung a plethora of modern family businesses. Like their western counterparts, some of the biggest players today run family offices.

How family offices invest family wealth range widely depending on the founders’ backgrounds and future ambitions. While some specialize in pure asset management, like Robert W. Miller’s Search Investment Group, which primarily invests in hedge funds and private equity, others act as a business vehicle to branch into younger, emerging industries. For example, Li Ka-Shing, Hong Kong’s richest man, utilizes Horizons Ventures to fill in the white space of his sprawling business interests through avid investments in tech startups across the globe.

In part one of Hong Kong’s Single-Family Offices, Trusted Insight highlights single-family offices that stem from homegrown, multi-generational family enterprises. These families laid the foundation for the region’s economy and unique history. Many of the original sources of wealth remain the dominant companies in their respective industries.

Horizons Ventures
Year Founded: 2002
Family Represented: Li Ka-Shing
Origin Of Wealth: Manufacturing, Telecom, Real Estate, Retail
Key Employee: Li Ka-Shing, Founder and Chairman

Horizons Ventures is a technology-focused venture capital firm funded Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing. Established in 2002, Horizons has been an avid investor in high-tech startups across the world and has scored numerous outrageously successful deals -- Skype, Facebook, Spotify, Siri, DeepMind and Summly, just to name a few.

Horizons’ current portfolio consists of more than 40 startups globally. Profits from the investment are contributed to Li’s charitable foundation, Li Ka-Shing Foundation.


Sterling Private Management
Year Founded: 2001
Family Represented: The Chen Brothers
Origin Of Wealth: Real Estate
Key Employee: Patrick Ho, Director

Sterling Private Management is one of Asia's most established single-family offices, managing the wealth of Hong Kong’s real estate tycoons, Chen QiZong and Chen LeZong, who established Hang Lung Group in 1960 and built it into one of the most prominent property developers across Asia. The family office is involved in wealth management, offshore fund management, trust administration, treasury services, as well as philanthropic activities through private foundations.


Chow Tai Fook Capital            
Year Founded: N/A
Family Represented: Cheng Yu-Tung & Family
Origin Of Wealth: Jewelry Retail
Key Employee: Henry Cheng, Chairman

Chow Tai Fook Capital manages the fortunes of Hong Kong billionaire Cheng Yu-Tung. He was the son-in-law of Chow Chi Yuen, founder of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Company, one of the largest jewelry retailers in Asia. The jewelry company was founded in 1929, and Cheng inherited the family business in 1956. He is now a major shareholder of the company as well as other businesses spanning from real estate to energy.

Kwong Hing Investment (KHI) Group    
Year Founded: 1947
Family Represented: Fu Hou-Ze & Family                 
Origin Of Wealth: Real Estate
Key Employee: Kenneth Tsang, General Manager - Property

KHI Group is the family office of Hong Kong businessman Fu Hou-Ze, chairman of KHI Holdings Group, a property developer. The Fu family was prominent in Macau’s casino business before migrating to Hong Kong. The family office currently has two branches, one focusing on Hong Kong and the other on overseas investments. The firm engages in property investments, asset management and direct investments across geographies.


Search Investment Group 
Year Founded: 1973    
Family Represented: Robert W. Miller & Family      
Origin Of Wealth: Retail
Key Employee: Robert W. Miller, Chairman

Search Investment Group manages investments for British businessman Robert W. Miller and his family. In 1960, Miller co-founded Duty Free Shoppers (DFS), a leading retailer serving cross-border travelers, in Hong Kong. DFS is now co-owned by luxury retail group LVMH.

Search Investment Group specializes in private equity, special situations and direct investments. It is a shareholder in two asset management firms: SAIL Advisors Limited, a hedge fund based in Hong Kong, and Ortelius Capital Partners, an alternative investment group, which was founded by Miller’s son-in-law H.R.H. Prince Pavlos of Greece in 2002.

Miller is currently ranked the 68th wealthiest person in the U.K., with a net worth of $2.3 billion, according to Forbes.


Legacy Advisors Limited
Year Founded: 1995    
Family Represented: James Chen (Chen Yet-Sen)
Origin Of Wealth: Manufacturing
Key Employee: James Chen, Founder and Managing Director

Legacy Advisors Limited was founded by James Chen, the chairman of Wahum Group Holdings, a third generation family-owned manufacturing business. An active philanthropist, Chen co-founded several ventures that promote early childhood education and vision care for the underserved. These include Bring Me a Book Hong Kong, a NGO that promotes family literacy; his family’s philanthropic arm, the Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation; and Clearly, a vision care campaign he launched in April 2016.


Please check back next week for Hong Kong’s Single-Family Offices Part II.
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