In August, ICFS Director David White travelled to Qingdao, China, to pursue opportunities arising from an earlier visit in April. On this occasion he was accompanied by ICFS Advisory Board Chair Matt Walsh, Head of fund manager LifePlan. Qingdao (Population 9m) is a progressive coastal city in Shandong Province. David and Matt joined an Adelaide City Council delegation over a 5 day period. Adelaide is a sister city of Qingdao and South Australia is a sister state of Shandong.
Qingdao is of particular relevance to ICFS’s international agenda, as it has been selected by the Chinese central government as the only wealth management pilot zone in China, where a wealth management and financial services industry will be progressively developed. This provides huge opportunities for ICFS in the areas of co-education and collaborative research. Qingdao officials have been impressed with the success of the Australian wealth management and retirement income industry and are keen to learn more.
Meetings were held with the Qingdao Financial Affairs Office (which administers the pilot zone), including introductions to senior representatives of the Ocean University of China, Qingdao University and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (Qingdao branch). There was considerable interest from the universities to establish co-education programs (incorporating internship opportunities in Qingdao) with a view to supplying talented graduates to employers in the rapidly growing Qingdao financial market. Negotiations are continuing with a view to signing Memoranda of Understanding by the end of the year.