Milltrust’s Simon Hopkins: «We Have a Significant Focus on the GCC»

October 19, 2023

BY Milltrust International Group

By Finews.Asia – 18 October 2023

The growing wealth in Asia has dragged the interest of Milltrust International to grow further, thus it creates a new stream via sustainability-focused multi-family office East West Private Wealth.

Mainland China may have become a focus of many people in the last few decades, however, it is not too interesting for East West Private Wealth (EWPW). «Mainland China is tricky… it’s challenging to bring money out,» Simon Hopkins (pictured below), Milltrust International’s founder and CEO said in an interview with finews.asia.

The money that has found its way to Singapore, comes from people who already have their money out. They usually have assets in Hong Kong and move them to Singapore, he added.

Focus on GCC Clients

Instead of China, EWPW has a significant focus in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. The area is now becoming the world’s most popular jurisdiction for global nomads, as well as people with global business interests.

The whole GCC region is now a target for EWPW, but the most significant opportunity will be in the wealthiest country, Saudi Arabia. «But equally UAE, Qatar and some of the other countries around which would fall into the MENA region… will be part of our coverage,» Hopkins said, adding that Southeast Asia is equally important to the GCC.

Plans For Abu Dhabi Office

To further support its plan, EWPW plans to open an office in Abu Dhabi, UAE in early 2024. The firm is now applying for a license under the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

Aside from Abu Dhabi, EWPW is also exploring the idea of having a joint company that would serve as clients in Hong Kong and in Singapore or a joint venture, Hopkins said. However, the firm may not realize this plan immediately, as most people working in Singapore can open accounts in Hong Kong and vice versa.

Attracting More Senior Relationship Managers

EWPW’s key target is to attract more senior relationship managers to join the firm. «Because you can’t build trust with private clients overnight. It’s not possible,» Hopkins said.

Currently, EWPW has three senior relationship managers and it targets to add four more hires by early 2024. «We don’t want to fall over by rapidly expanding… I’ve suggested we’ll hire probably two people in January, maybe three in the early part of the new year,» he added.

Generous Fee-Sharing Model

EWPW looks to bring senior relationship managers from private banks and other external asset managers (EAM) to become partners. Its partnership structure will allow everybody to have co-ownership of this new entity, along with a generous fee-sharing model.

The firm’s partnership structure will also allow those who originally developed the trusted relationships and leave the company, to continue getting paid. «If they decide that they want to leave the industry, we can have a trial arrangement where on their assets… they can continue to earn a share of the revenue in relation to their client franchise as it’s handed over,» Hopkins said.

Fast-Growing Business Plan

Recently launched in early October 2023, EWPW has a fast-growing business plan. It expects to have S$2 billion ($1.46 billion) of assets under management (AUM) within the next 12 to 18 months. Currently, its total AUM stands at around $500 million, Hopkins said.

EWPW is now working with about ten banks, and it is onboarding its clients with those banks. The firm can also set up dedicated funds to hold the clients’ assets, such as via variable capital company (VCC) structures.

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