Hong Kong’s biggest private retirement fund scheme waved a fond goodbye last month to the man who ran its investment division for nine years.

But Heman Wong is not done with his career yet, despite stepping down from Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority Provident Fund Scheme (HAPFS) on December 11. 

He was recently ordained as an Elder for his church, is working on a book and investing his own portfolio – and is also keen to take on another post in the industry.

“I am still very passionate about the capital markets,” said Wong, who appears a lot younger than his 61 years. “So I am looking for a new job, either full-time or part-time, ideally working as a CIO [chief investment officer] or adviser to an asset owner.”

In the meantime, he is keeping himself busy – and presumably the bank account ticking over nicely – by trading Hong Kong stocks. “I have set up my own research engines and trading station,” he told AsianInvestor, using the Amibroker language and eSignal tool.  “I might switch to TradeStation if I get more serious with it.”

On the cultural side, Wong was ordained in September as an Elder of Ling Liang Church in Hong Kong’s Tung Chung district and has been writing a book in Chinese discussing selected passages of the Book of Matthew in its original language, biblical Greek. He has finished the first draft and is working on a rewrite.

HAPFS achievements

During his tenure at HAPFS, which began in December 2007, Wong helped the pension scheme increase its AUM to HK$57.7 billion ($7.44 billion) by November last year, from HK$35.4 billion. Over the same period, scheme membership has fallen from 35,000 to about 29,000, he noted.

In that time, the scheme has posted very respectable annualised returns (see table below), especially given that most of them were measured from just before Lehman Brothers' collapse in September 2008.

HAPFS annualised returns for its funds from Dec 2007 to Nov 2016

Global Equity Fund* Balanced Fund Growth Fund

Conservative Fund

Global Bond Fund*

Money Market Fund

6.9% 3.3% 3.8% 2.9% 4.6% 0.4%

 




* Returns from Apr 2010 for GEF and GBF, as they did not exist before that.

“Most of our members are feeling very satisfied,” said Wong, “and I got a round of applause at my final meeting with the staff representatives in June then at my final trustee meeting in November from my trustees. I am most grateful to my trustees, colleagues, business partners, friends and members.”

Moreover, during Wong's tenure, HAPFS introduced several new mandates, most recently its first smart-beta strategy, in May last year, managed by BlackRock.

All this led to him receiving AsianInvestor’s lifetime achievement award and helped HAPFS scoop the Institutional Excellence Award in the Hong Kong category in November.

However, Wong said that turning 61 in June made it more complicated to stay with a non-governmental organisation, in light of the open recruitment process that it required. He therefore decided to retire from the HAPFS post at the end of his third contract.

Smooth succession

Doris Ho, a director who has been with the fund for nine years, succeeded Wong. Ho (pictured below) has mainly been responsible for overseeing investment operations, including strategic asset allocation, risk management and manager selection. Before joining HAPFS, she was an associate director of investment at consultancy Mercer.

Before joining HAPFS, Wong served as treasurer at Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund for eight years and a senior treasury manager for two listed companies in Hong Kong before that. He also worked as head of bond sales for Asia ex-Japan at UK merchant bank Midland Montagu.

Wong studied for an MBA in Finance and Econometrics at Bradford University School of Management in the UK, which helps explain his excellent English – and his interest in snooker and various aspects of British culture.