Hong Kong residents are moving more and more of their wealth out of the British colony as the 1997 change to Chinese rule nears, bankers said today.
This year alone, Chinese customers will transfer about $770 million to Australia, and four times that much to Canada, according to an estimate by Will Buttrose, a consultant to National Westminster Bank PLC’s private banking operation in Australia.
“The amounts are going to escalate in the next two years,” he added. “People are very concerned about 1997.”
Participants at a conference on private banking in Geneva said Hong Kong investors are eager to place their riches in overseas tax havens and trust funds before China takes control.
Traditionally willing to speculate in their domestic market, they have been more conservative when placing wealth abroad.