Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
After graduation, I began pursuing my career in the financial industry. It is really a fascinating business in which I face challenges every day. I was lucky to have the numerous opportunities in taking up various functional responsibilities within several commercial banks before arriving at mutual funds development and asset management.
What does your role involve?
In general, I am responsible for the overall business development of Hang Seng Investment Management (HSVM). This includes the design of product offering matrix, development of marketing and branding strategy, formulation of product control and monitoring, and last but not least, facilitation of distribution models for both retail and institutional clients. Certainly, the success of the business also rests upon the contribution of our investment managers and operation experts.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
With the joint efforts of all colleagues within the company, I am glad to see that assets under management of HSVM have experienced tremendous growth of 13 times over since the beginning of 2000 when I joined the company. Over the years, I have successfully launched a number of first-of-its-kind products to the investors in Hong Kong. HSVM has successfully developed into a respectful manager in index tracking strategies and an innovative product provider on HK/China products amid the keen competition in the market.
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
We have launched many successful products/services in the past years. To name a few, the first index fund (tracking the Hang Seng Index) in Hong Kong, the only ETF (HK-listed) that follows the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, a series of award-winning sector funds, the first authorized Islamic fund in the territory, etc. I can hardly tell which one is the best because they differ in many aspects but one thing is shared in common — their success is underscored by our capability to roll out simple products to suit investors’ demand in a timely fashion.
What are the strengths of your business?
The answer to this question is two-folded. From the investment perspective, our strength is on the mainland China and Hong Kong markets. Our investment team comprises ethnic Chinese who are located in the financial center of China — Hong Kong. They have been following these markets for many years and have insightful views on the prospects of the economies and sentiment change in the region. On the distribution front, HSVM can leverage on the strong customer base and well-covered branch network of the Hang Seng Bank, the parent company of HSVM. We are among the few financial groups in Hong Kong who enjoy the synergy of having both the banking and asset management capacity.
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
There are numerous factors contributing to our success, both internal and external. I believe that there will not be a single success formula under every circumstance. But if I recall our previous product launches, the most critical factor is whether one can develop a simple and quality product in a timely fashion that can help grasp the prevailing investment opportunities. Of course, the ongoing investment performance and product quality are pre-requisites for the growth of the product in the long-run.
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
The flip side of obstacles is always new business opportunities. Unlike other global fund houses, our proposition is to be a “Fund Expert in the Mainland China/Hong Kong Markets”. It is also our belief that the simplest product is the best product for customers. To transform our strengths and values into action plan, one of our focuses is cost-efficient indexing products, which range from traditional index tracking fund to its variants such as leveraged index tracking and enhanced indexing strategy. Apart from the product strategy, we strive to strengthen our distribution channels in terms of customer segment and geography, subject to the relevant regulatory requirements.
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry, maybe in the next five years?
I would foresee an increasing number of financial groups setting up dedicated units to develop the Islamic finance business. One thing that is not questionable — Islamic finance would play an important role in the global financial market in the next five to 10 years, which explains why the Hong Kong government officials would be dedicated to develop the city to become a global Islamic financial center.
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance?
Considering the current situation of Hong Kong, we have to admit that we lack the professionals specializing in Islamic finance. I would like to see more and more Islamic financial experts come over and provide opportunities for the local financial practitioners to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge of Islamic finance
Established in 1993, Hang Seng Investment Management is a wholly owned subsidiary and the investment arm of Hang Seng Bank, one of Hong Kong’s largest listed companies in terms of market capitalization and a principal member of the HSBC Group.