Chief Executive John Lee welcomes all to invest in Hong Kong, provided funds are legitimate

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John Lee (left) and Sheikh Ali Rashed Ali Saeed Al Maktoum (right).

16th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) Chief Executive John Lee has reaffirmed the city’s commitment to attracting family offices from around the globe, irrespective of their background, as long as their funds comply with legal standards. This announcement comes in the wake of controversies surrounding the halted inauguration of a family office by Sheikh Ali Rashed Ali Saeed Al Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s ruling family.

During a press briefing ahead of an Executive Council meeting today, Lee addressed the media on the recent stir caused by the Dubai royal’s venture. The Chief Executive highlighted that Hong Kong, like any major city or economic entity, is keen on drawing family offices to its shores, citing their potential to deliver substantial economic benefits and value to the region.

“Hong Kong is in a fiercely competitive market, and we cannot afford to be passive,” Lee stated. He emphasised that the city’s policy is to welcome family offices, whether they belong to ‘the man in the street’ or more affluent families, as long as the origins of their capital are verified and legitimate.

The establishment of family offices, which manage the private wealth and corporate affairs of affluent families, has become a pivotal part of global financial strategies. These entities not only bring investment but are also key to job creation and fostering a diverse economic environment.

Lee’s comments come at a time when Hong Kong is striving to enhance its attractiveness as a premier global financial hub, especially in the post-pandemic era that has seen competitive pressures intensify from other financial centres like Singapore and Shanghai.

“Every city including ours aims to host as many family offices as possible because of the super value they bring along with significant economic benefits,” Lee added. He reassured that the government would do everything within its capacity to attract these offices to Hong Kong.

The controversy around Sheikh Ali’s family office has sparked a wider discussion on the regulatory environment and the openness of Hong Kong’s economy to foreign investment. The Chief Executive’s firm stance on welcoming legally funded family offices is seen as a direct message to the global wealthy that Hong Kong remains a reliable and welcoming destination for substantial private investments.