Australian funds management, technology and financial advice providers must act quickly if they want to export their services to China, says IOOF chairman Dr Roger Sexton.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals (AIOFP) in Shanghai yesterday, Dr Sexton said the Johnson Report objectives of boosting Australian financial services exports is feasible given demand in Asia, particularly mainland China.
“I have been coming to China since 1978 and have seen the opportunities for funds management and financial planning that exist here,” said the IOOF Holdings chair and Beston Pacific Asset Management founder.
“[China] need platforms, they need investment technology and management and that is where the opportunity lies.”
However, while Australia is well positioned to meet its export goals, competition for Chinese investment is snowballing, with a number of global financial services players eyeing the increasingly sophisticated retail investor market.
“American financial services companies are coming [to China] in a big way and the European private banking institutions are too,” he said.
“If we don’t come in now and create a niche for ourselves, we will lose the opportunity.”
Dr Sexton – an economist who worked at senior levels in the South Australian and federal government before embarking on a career in the private sector – also said that policy assistance is required in order to gain an competitive advantage over rival financial services markets.
“It could [take off globally] but we would need some help from the Australian government.”
Dr Sexton is leading a $100 million-plus initial public offering (IPO) for the Beston Global Food business, of which he is also chairman.
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