Kelvin Cheung, regional chief operating officer for Asia Pacific & Middle East, Nuveen
Hong Kong Business Spotlight
As the investment management arm of US-based financial giant TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America), Nuveen serves institutions, financial intermediaries and individual investors in more than 30 countries.
Regarded as an industry leader in income generation, alternative investments and responsible investments, Nuveen has USD$1.2 trillion in assets under management (as of December 2020) — making it one of the largest global asset managers.
As part of its strategy for international growth, Nuveen selected Hong Kong for a new regional headquarters for Asia Pacific in 2016. Their new HQ joined smaller existing offices housing specialized capabilities in Singapore and Sydney.
Since 2016, Nuveen’s presence in Hong Kong has grown from a small team of six to 26 employees, covering sales, investment, and research activities as well as marketing, product development, legal, compliance and risk across the region.
Kelvin Cheung, Nuveen’s regional chief operating officer for Asia Pacific & Middle East, spoke to Living and Investing in Hong Kong about the company’s plans for further growth in the region and Hong Kong’s future as an international business hub.
Kelvin Cheung, Nuveen: Hong Kong’s appeal as a global financial center and its geographic proximity to clients within the wider APAC region were key factors when we considered the location of our regional headquarters. Having the headquarters in Hong Kong made good business sense both in terms of consolidating our international footprint in region as well as strategic alignment with the existing offices.
Another factor that attracts us to operate here in Hong Kong is the talent — both local and international. Hong Kong’s long-standing reputation as a global financial center continues to draw and retain exceptional talent across industries.
“Hong Kong’s long-standing reputation as a global financial center continues to draw and retain exceptional talent across industries.”
— Kelvin Cheung, Nuveen
KC: As we continue to build out our local capabilities in Asia, one area we are focusing on is the private wealth segment. The Greater Bay Area development presents some clear opportunities in this space. We continue to monitor ongoing developments and engage in long-term discussions with regards to cross-boundary investment opportunities via a “wealth connect hub” across the Greater Bay Area.
LAIHK: To build on that, how do you see Hong Kong’s role as an international finance hub evolving in the future?
KC: Hong Kong’s structurally sound platform will ensure that it continues to play a central role in capturing opportunities as a result of China’s growing participation in the global financial markets. I believe it will continue in its role as a global gateway into and out of China.
Additionally, as the regulatory landscape across APAC continues to evolve, compliance to regulations remains a priority with a focus to make regulatory systems more efficient for businesses. Hong Kong’s role as a risk management center to cross-boundary investments may become more prominent.
“Hong Kong’s traditional English legal principles in international finance and commerce, as well as its proximity to key regional markets will continue to make Hong Kong a premier location to conduct business.”
KC: Hong Kong’s traditional English legal principles in international finance and commerce, as well as its proximity to key regional markets will continue to make Hong Kong a premier location to conduct business. The peg between HKD and USD is also an anchor for financial stability and the economy.
KC: Being born and raised in Hong Kong, I have a lot of favorite things about Hong Kong. Having also lived, studied and worked in other countries, I think Hong Kong’s beautiful skyline and cultural diversity definitely stand out and are second to none.