Fidelity banks its future on retail centre
By MARISSA LAGUE
FIDELITY Investments is banking a large stake of its future in Hong Kong's unit trust industry on a new retail centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The new Kowloon base takes up 11,000 square feet in The Gateway and is staffed by 50 customer service and marketing operators.
Fidelity Investments regional marketing director Richard Wastcoat said the centre would play an important role in the company's aim to make investing in unit trusts as convenient as possible.
The company was the first in Hong Kong to introduce touch-phone transactions in 1992 and, according to Mr Wastcoat, the new office will accommodate the strong growth expected in the number of clients who place telephone orders.
'Currently, half our clients use the telephone and half come to the retail centre in person to place transaction orders,' he said.
The company expects the number of clients who visit the retail centre to drop to 25 per cent in line with trends in other markets where there is a strong preference for telephone orders. Longer opening hours, from 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday, have also been introduced.
Although early findings of a recent survey by the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association show unit trust penetration levels may be higher than the two to four per cent previously thought, fund management companies in Hong Kong still face stiff competition in their bid to lure new investors.
Mr Wastcoat said the identity of a company was a significant factor in determining whether or not people invested. 'We don't see ourselves competing with Jardine Fleming or any other company for market share, but we do have plans to raise the company's profile so that more investors are familiar with our name,' he said.