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Leading Corporate Service Firm Names Hong Kong Global HQ

Vistra Group has relocated its global headquarters from Geneva to Hong Kong, reflecting the group’s confidence in Asia’s economic prospects.

Swiss-based Vistra has been providing tailored trust, fiduciary, fund administration and corporate services to companies across the globe since 2006. Its Hong Kong office was established in 2009. The firm merged with Asia’s leading company formation business, Offshore Incorporations Ltd (OIL), in 2011 and has become one of the largest companies of its kind in the world.

In Hong Kong, Vistra Group employs some 200 local people and 20 expatriates, and has been transformed into a global headquarters with two office locations. Recently, the group has launched its refreshed brand that unites Vistra and OIL.

Leading Corporate Service Firm Names Hong Kong Global HQ

“There will be more growth out of Asia than Europe for the next decade. So, it makes sense for us to put more focus on Asia and hence the global headquarters. Mainland China is a very large part of that growth,” Martin Crawford, Chief Executive Officer, Vistra Group, said.

Vistra Group’s global headquarters will take charge of all finance, IT, marketing, human resources, treasury functions as well as banking and fund relations. The heads of department of each will be located in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong – the Epicentre of Asia

Crawford pointed out that clients in Asia are now requiring a higher level of sophistication in company formation services than in the past. Instead of simply opening a holding company, very often they need more sophisticated advice and resources on trusts, limited partnerships and funds. Vistra Group is taking this demand as an opportunity to transfer skills, people, training and development into its Asian businesses.

The growth of outbound investment from Mainland China has also created an opportunity for Vistra Group to help Mainland companies set up all over the world. “Clients like coming to Hong Kong to visit their law firms and other advisers as well as seeing us. So, being here is a great place to catch outbound Mainland clients and help them structure their global expansion activities, whether they are investing in traditional markets like the US or Europe, or in emerging markets in South America, the Middle East and Africa,” he said.

The connectivity of Hong Kong is another important factor. “Hong Kong is the epicentre of Asia. It is extremely well connected. For a person like me who travels almost 200 days out of the office in a year, it is very easy to travel and live in this commuting hub,”  he said.

Future Outlook

Driven by clients’ demand for a one-stop solution, corporate services firms will see an increasing consolidation and Vistra Group’s ambition is to make sure it remains one of the “big four” of the trust and corporate services industry, continuing to expand geographically and in its service range. The group is looking actively to expand its presence in other parts of Asia. “Vistra Group now operates in 32 countries and we foresee that number to be growing to 45 to 50 countries in future,” Crawford said.

Vistra Group has been working closely with InvestHK over the past few years. In 2014, it participated in a joint European roadshow with InvestHK in Luxembourg and Spain. “I have personally worked with many other investment promotion agencies, and InvestHK is extremely good because what the department is doing aligns with what the government wants, which is not always the case elsewhere,” Crawford said.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

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Fast Facts

  • Employs over 1,300 professionals in 32 countries
  • Issues two investment publications annually

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