Emperor puts capital in safe hands

Updated: 2016-04-29 17:36

By Sophie He(China Daily USA)

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Emperor Capital Group looks forward to becoming a greater draw for mainland investors with its one-stop solutions, CEO Daisy Yeung tells Sophie He.

Daisy Yeung hopes more investors from the mainland will become customers of Emperor Capital Group, which she heads.

The company's chief executive officer is the daughter of Albert Yeung Sau-shing, Hong Kong entertainment mogul and Emperor Group chairman. She voiced her hopes in recalling how Emperor Capital Group was founded in 1993 and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in April 2007.

In 2003, the company began restructuring and expanding its business, branching out into wealth management, asset management, financing and corporate finance. The company has gone from being a traditional brokerage to a financial institution that can provide one-stop investment services to its customers, Yeung told China Daily.

"In recent years, we've been actively developing our financing business, we've just made an announcement that we are placing bonds to raise about HK$1.2 billion ($154.7 million). We will use the capital to continue to develop our financing businesses," said Yeung.

She noted that in the past five to six years, the investment market in Hong Kong has been very active, but investors are not always able to get custom-made and convenient loans from commercial banks. That is where Emperor Capital Group sees opportunities, she said, adding that the profit margin of its financing business has been very satisfactory.

Yeung also said that since 2015, Emperor Capital has been hiring additional staff to further develop its real-estate mortgage business.

"We were doing the mortgage business before but the scale was very limited. Since the middle of 2015, we have hired a new team, with over 20 employees, to provide primary and secondary mortgages to home buyers."

Meanwhile, Emperor Capital is optimizing its online trading platform, as now customers, especially those from the Chinese mainland, are used to placing orders over the internet, according to Yeung.

"We are very bullish about the market on the Chinese mainland, so hopefully our trading platform will attract more mainland customers."

At the beginning of 2015, the Hong Kong government announced the suspension of the "Capital Investment Entrant Scheme". But by then Emperor Capital already had a roster of over 1,000 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) from the mainland as customers through the scheme. Yeung said these HNWIs have been using Emperor Capital's online trading platform to invest in Hong Kong stocks. The company wants to expand its mainland customer base and hopefully more HNWIs will become its customers.

Cream of the crop

"HNWIs are our valuable customers, as they have great demand in terms of investments which means great business potential for us," Yeung explained, adding that the company has taken the time to talk to its HNWI customers one by one, trying to understand their demands and helping them make investment decisions.

With three offices on the Chinese mainland, in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, Emperor Capitals has plans to continue to hire more staff for these offices as it believes it should focus on developing the mainland market in the future.

"I hope that Emperor Capital Group will become a company that is well known to mainland customers. I know that mainland people are quite familiar with Emperor Entertainment Group and Emperor Watch and Jewellery. I hope that someday mainland customers would be familiar with our Emperor Capital Group," said Yeung.

The 50-year-old received her bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 1988 from the University of San Francisco, and in January 1991 she returned to Hong Kong.

"I majored in information systems," said Yeung. "After I graduated I worked in one of the departments of the University of San Francisco to help them computerize their entire system. I didn't want to come back to Hong Kong at first, but my father and my sister talked me back into working for the family."

Life lessons

Yeung recalled that when she had just got back, she tried to do a lot of different things for the family business. She did administrative work, marketing work and even worked in the legal department for a while. But her father strongly recommended that she become an accountant.

"As a business owner, my father believed that accountants are very important to a company and wanted me to understand the numbers and data of his business. But eventually I decided that I didn't want to be an accountant. I liked meeting with customers rather than dealing with numbers," she said.

A few years later, Emperor Capital Group was founded, and Yeung said she was very excited and joined the company almost immediately. "Since I was a child, I have been very interested in stocks and investments," she revealed.

Yeung said she has witnessed many significant events in the Hong Kong stock market since she joined Emperor Capital Group, from the stock market crash of 1997, the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000, the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2003 to the financial crisis in 2008.

"All of these have provided me with knowledge and lessons that can't be learned from books," said Yeung.

What she has learned is that many retail investors in Hong Kong do not understand the importance of "cutting losses".

"I've seen too many investors who know when to leave the market when they are making money. Unfortunately, not enough of them know when to leave the market when they are losing money."

Not many people have the courage to cut losses in time, Yeung said, adding that she has seen many stocks drop from over HK$20 per share to just several cents apiece. Many investors expected them to bounce back, but they never did. "If I can give investors one piece of advice, I would suggest that they draw a line, a bottom line that they should stand firmly by. You need to tell yourself, maybe 15 percent of your bottom line, once you lose more than that, you have to cut losses, you need to be very persistent about it," Yeung signed off.

Contact the writer at sophiehe@chinadailyhk.com

(China Daily USA 04/29/2016 page5)