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  • Writer's pictureNelson Huang

5 Things Should Know In Developing Taiwan. 5th: Fitting In TW Institution Culture Is Very Important

Updated: Sep 8, 2021


Plan to broaden your business in Taiwan Institution market? NIC, the experienced consultant in the industry, shares the critical 5 things you should know from previous insights and the last one, now.


The last thing we want to share is related to some unique local practices when you conduct the asset management business with local institutions in Taiwan.

1. The investment habit is commonly short-termism

2. You have to be very cautious about the gifting etiquette

3. Engagement routes are divergent in different sectors

4. Lunch meetings are informal and not preferred by clients

5. Shortage of meeting rooms happens quite often.

1.Investment habit is commonly short-termism

The people who have done business with Taiwan insurance companies won’t be surprised

that lifers in Taiwan are somehow like to take profit even in a very short time right after the subscriptions are placed. Though insurance companies are professional investors, they are still well-known for their short-termism. Typically, the average “hold” period of an investment into funds can be just around a couple of months. In extreme cases, they might liquid the investments even there is only one-two weeks immediately after the deployment. This might come to they need realized gain to meet monthly profit target. When the market sends an impressive return in a short period of time, the lifer might liquid the relevant assets. This has led to the active use of fund investment, in a way very similar to equities, to achieve sustained returns. Practically when the institutions decide to liquid the investments for a certain category, they might start from those performing funds, or those with relevant large risk exposures. Artificially, good enough client maintenance level might make your fund being the last one to be redeemed, when others are already sold out.

2. You have to be very cautious about the gifting etiquette

In the past, the gift exchange custom is circulated in the Chinse culture, today more and more companies clearly stated to the staffs that it’s forbidden to accept any gift no matter that is given to the division or the individuals since the gesture can be seen a bribery if you treat it in wrong manner. Even in the important festivals such as Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival in May, and Mid-Autumn Festival, the simple and generous gift still can’t be considered in some companies, especially for government related organization. However, for institutions manufacture tailor-made the ingenious gift with company logo, like calendar, pen, notebook, is generally acceptable for clients.

3.Engagement routes are divergent in different sectors

In general, bottom-up business approach is applicable when you deal with institutions i.e. insurance companies and pensions. Since it related to the professional judgement of huge investment volume, the informative processing typically flows from the frontline workers to the senior management and formal investment committee. Consequently, the quality of the product itself is primarily significant in the organic system. Bottom-up approach is generally applied in the institutional business. If the business is associated to third party distribution, for example, fund distribution via banks, securities brokers or insurance agents, you have to cleverly conduct the bottom-up and top-down approaches in right time and with right people. On the ground that more elements involve the whole process, generally top-down approach will be more efficient to drive the business.

4.Lunch meetings are informal and not preferred by clients

Do you want lunch meeting with the clients? Hmm…clients may think in a much different way as you do. We are time to time requested by numerous offshore fund managers or sell-side sales to arrange lunch meetings with the key men of the institutional investors. We truly agree that it’s a good opportunity to strengthen the client relationship if clients are willing to come for lunch.

To a certain degree, it represents he or she deem you a friend, not only a business partner. However, we have to be very honest to tell you: most of the clients are not desired to do that. You could politely show your sincerity but don’t insist of inviting if clients already turn you down. Particularly for buy-side analysts and portfolio managers, they usually do not want to spend personal leisure time to talk about business. Moreover, more and more institutions tend to forbid their staffs having outside meetings to avoid bribery.

5.Shortage of meeting rooms happens often. They don’t mean to turn down your meeting request intentionally.

When you strive to arrange meeting with the buy-side managers, it’s always awkward to have their response that they can’t make it because there are no available meeting rooms at your preferred slots. Normally the sales representative of the offshore fund company has the pressure to arrange ideal meetings for the fund managers or senior management as they fly over and drop by for just one or two days. It’s not only because the buy-side managers are all the time busy, but the meeting rooms are also very scarce resources. It’s a headache and nightmare to schedule a satisfied and tight itinerary. We have to frankly speak that clients do not mean to turn you down by that ridiculous excuses. Short of meeting rooms is a very common circumstances, in Taiwan.

In order to facilitate the meeting, it’s not wired to see many of the foreign fund managers and the buy-side analysts or managers are sitting in the lobby café. It tends to be normal of discussing business or presenting products in the public area. Therefore, please don’t feel exhausted if next time the meeting rooms are all over-booked. Be prepared in advance if you have to present your products in the open area.


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