Hong Kong’s revamped residency scheme aims to ignite capital markets and attract wealthy migrants

Hong Kong’s enhanced Cash for Residency Scheme, unveiled on December 20, is poised to invigorate capital markets and bolster the city’s status as a hub for family offices.

Hong Kong is ushering in a revamped Cash for Residency Scheme (CIES) with the potential to reshape the financial landscape. Announced on December 20, the new investment-migration scheme aims to streamline residency for individuals committing at least HK$30 million (US$3.84 million) to the stock market or alternative assets, excluding residential real estate. Joseph Chan Ho-lim, Undersecretary for Financial Services and the Treasury anticipates significant economic benefits, projecting an annual influx of approximately HK$120 billion into stock, bond, fund, and private-equity markets if the scheme attracts a similar number of applicants as its predecessor.

Chan envisions a profound impact on Hong Kong’s capital markets and wealth-management sector, emphasizing the scheme’s potential to elevate the city’s standing as an offshore yuan trading centre. Notably, the CIES permits applicants to invest in yuan-denominated assets, aligning with Hong Kong’s strategic position in the global financial landscape.

The allure of the enhanced residency scheme extends beyond financial markets. Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s commitment, outlined in the October 2022 Policy Address, encompasses attracting 200 new family offices to Hong Kong by 2025. Complementing the CIES, a tax break introduced in May, and other incentives, this initiative seeks to cultivate a robust ecosystem for family offices. Hong Kong, already home to over 400 family offices, aims to solidify its status as a preferred destination for high-net-worth individuals seeking residency with wealth-management opportunities.

The multifaceted approach, combining tax incentives, art-storage facilities at Hong Kong International Airport, and an expeditious residency process, underscores the city’s commitment to fostering a vibrant financial environment. As global economic dynamics continue to evolve, Hong Kong positions itself as an attractive destination for wealthy migrants, capitalizing on the intersection of residency privileges and robust investment opportunities.

The success of the enhanced CIES will likely serve as a litmus test for Hong Kong’s resilience and attractiveness in the competitive landscape of global financial centres. With an optimistic outlook on the potential infusion of capital and the growth of family offices, the city anticipates further strengthening its position as a dynamic and prosperous hub for wealth management and financial activities.