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Giles Cheney, Head of Dolfin’s China Desk, CTO Dmitry Tokarev, CEO Denis Nagy and Dolfin Group Chairman Roman Joukovski travelled to Shanghai for the conference. On the opening morning, Cheney joined a panel of specialists to discuss cross-border investment migration and residency in a globalised world. This is a topic that is of particular interest to Dolfin’s Chinese clients, who are attracted by London’s robust property market, premium service providers and myriad international travel links.
“The panel discussed the difficulties Chinese people face when they seek to invest outside the country,” Cheney says. “These include a depreciating currency and appreciating real estate market. As was the case throughout the conference, I was struck by the high level of engagement among the audience. They were highly focused on our presentations and eager to engage with us on our stand as well.”
From custody to cryptocurrency
Later, Cheney presented on the importance for Chinese investors of choosing the right custodian and why custodians matter, while Tokarev attracted intense interest among delegates with his talk on navigating the minefield of cryptocurrency investment.
The conference was attended by almost 500 financial intermediaries, and it provided the Dolfin team with invaluable insights into the market, says Nagy.
“There is a unique combination of factors at play in the Chinese market,” he explains. “An advanced economy, an advanced financial services industry, but an almost exclusive focus on domestic investment. There is huge demand for international diversification: wealthy Chinese are looking to move and invest overseas, and this segment of the market is currently underserved. The global market lacks an understanding of the needs of Chinese investors, their expectations and what they are familiar with, and as China opens up to the world, serving these needs will become increasingly important.”
Over the coming months, Cheney and his team will be working closely with local players in China, building relationships with brokers, lawyers and asset managers to develop a proposition that meets the needs of this exciting market.
“China’s growing wealth has had a delayed impact on global financial services, but now we are seeing the markets opening up and a huge hunger for knowledge and information coming from China,” says Joukovski. “People have money, but they haven’t considered the opportunities that exist for them outside China. Now that is changing, and we believe that Dolfin is entering the market at the right time. Among the larger players, there is a narrow focus on ultra-high-net-worth investors, but there is a much larger layer of wealthy individuals whose needs are not being met.”
The Chinese client is just as informed, just as demanding as clients anywhere else in the world. Serving them requires a B2B approach with an international outlook, coupled with strong relationships with small-to-medium sized local players, believes Joukovski.
“There’s a fantastic opportunity for collaboration in China,” he says. “As a firm, we have always prospered by working closely with financial intermediaries to help them meet and exceed their clients’ expectations.”