Manulife Leases Another Office Space In Hong Kong
HONG KONG – Following a report in April that Manulife will open a large office in the International Trade Tower in Kowloon East, the Canadian insurer plans to open another outlet in Tsim Sha Tsui, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Sunday morning (15 August, SGT).
Located at The Gate office building, the 7,300 sq ft business centre will offer services to high-net-worth individuals (HNWI). It is also triple the size of the company’s previous office space in the city.
“We have a growing business in Hong Kong and we will hire more agents to sell our products in the following years. We will need more space for training and for our salespersons to meet customers,” said Manulife’s CEO for Hong Kong and Macau, Damien Green, in an interview with SCMP.
Notably, Manulife obtained over 33.33 percent of its core earnings from Asia last year with premium sales of US$2.9 billion. It’s assets under management (AUM) in the region also increased by 16 percent to US$108 billion. In Hong Kong, it has about 10,800 agents, accounting for roughly 10 percent of its workforce in Asia.
At the International Trade Tower in Kwun Tong, Kowloon East, the Canadian insurer has agreed to lease 145,000 sq ft of office space across 4 floors, making it the largest Grade A office rental transaction in Hong Kong since July 2019. Moreover, the International Trade Tower is poised to be renamed as Manulife Place.
“Our expansion shows our commitment to Hong Kong where we have operated for 124 years,” commented Green. However, he refused to reveal the cost of the additional office space. Still, a real estate analyst reckoned that Manulife would pay HK$4 million a month in office rent, given the area’s market rate of around HK$28 psf.
The space at the International Trade Tower represents the Canadian insurer’s fifth office in Hong Kong, with 1 in Causeway Bay and 4 in Kowloon.
While Manulife is taking up a biggest office space, several other financial institutions like DBS, HSBC, and Standard Chartered have announced plans to slash workspace in Hong Kong due to the prevalence of work-from-home (WFH).
In explaining the reason for bucking the trend, Green explained that compared to banks, like the 3 aforementioned companies, the insurance sector is a more people-facing business. Insurance agents need to meet with clients personally to better explain their insurance products.
“The Greater Bay Area project is going to bring in a lot of talent and capital flow between mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. There will be more visitors when the borders are reopened. This is why we need more office space and a bigger customer centre to capture these opportunities,” he added.