The standard thinking for people wanting to build wealth in Macau used to be simple: save and invest in growth assets such as shares and property. But in recent years that message comes with a new twist. If you're serious about wealth creation, invest in growth assets by all means. But if you don't have the skills or time to do it yourself, use professionally managed products such as managed funds and don't just invest your own money. Seek advice from your bank, borrow and invest someone else's money as well. Maggie Fu, assistant professor of finance at the University of Macau, said wealth management was not traditionally a financial service offered in Macau. Dr Fu said that with more foreign banks entering the market, financial planning services were slowly being introduced. 'Many of these foreign banks have been offering wealth management services to their customers for a very long time,' she said. 'Their entrance into the market has prompted some of the more traditional banks to change their services. In general, banks are always trying to provide better services to their customers.' A spokesman for Luso International Banking said that wealth management was still in its infancy in Macau, and that the services on offer were nowhere near as comprehensive as those available in mature markets such as Europe and the United States. He said the majority of residents in Macau did not have a clear understanding of what wealth management was, and generally sought investment products that offered high returns. Those who were interested in wealth creation were normally aged over 35 with high incomes; senior executives with large companies, professionals, civil servants and small business owners. 'Financial planning is operated through the management of various types of funds, structured products, valued securities and foreign exchange margin trading, together with banks' traditional products such as deposits or loans to help individuals manage their financial and investment needs,' he said. 'Wealth management also encompasses client advisory services in financial matters. In addition local banks provide clients with the retirement planning services by virtue of annuity, unit trust or savings plans.' Dr Fu said the gaming industry boom combined with the enclave's labour shortage had seen a massive influx of expatriates in high-level management positions. According to figures from the Labour Affairs Bureau at the end of June last year, there were more than 75,000 non-resident workers in Macau. Or in other words, one in every four workers was imported. Dr Fu said the concept of wealth creation in Macau was foreign five years ago and people were cautious about trying something new, especially when it involved their money. 'Attitudes are slowly changing and many of the non-resident workers are already familiar with the concept. I think many local people have gone from rejecting it to being more receptive to the idea,' she said. 'There has been a lot of effort by the banking sector to introduce new products and I think it will be a growth area in the future.' Banco Nacional Ultramarino's (BNU) head of private banking Jose Braz-Gomes said Macau was such a small place that people tended to be reluctant to reveal their financial details, even to their bank managers. Mr Braz-Gomes said the key to wealth management business in Macau was maintaining long-term, personal and confidential relationships with clients. 'People, especially the rich ones, will not trust or disclose their wealth to you in such a small city,' Mr Braz-Gomes said. 'To many people, wealth management is just investment in stocks or funds. Our opinion is the business of wealth management in Macau has just started.' BNU has operated in Macau for more than 100 years and introduced wealth management products in the 1990s. Despite this, Mr Braz-Gomes said the majority of people's knowledge of wealth management was limited to bank deposits and stock trading. He said it was either very high risk or extremely conservative. 'Our bank is one of the pioneers of wealth management in Macau,' he said. 'We believe that preservation and enhancement of personal wealth requires a well balanced strategy.' Dr Fu said as competition between banks increased in Macau, overall services would continue to improve. Trends in wealth management were linked to the performance of the economy as a whole and Macau was doing very well. 'If people have more money, they will look for more options to spend their money,' she said. 'You can see this in the rise in demand for loans and wealth management is another area that people will become more interested in.'