All the images in this article are free of known copyright restrictions.
A legend and pioneer in the insurance industry, introducing new concepts and solutions into the world of estate planning. He is also able to move financial markets by launching awesome raids on stocks and shares or dump hundreds of millions of dollars worth of commodities at the press of a button. He is able to accomplish the above in the only way he knows how—silently and without anyone knowing.
The secretive but immensely wealthy Calvin Lo seems to have the Midas touch in whatever he ventures in. From life insurance to property development, to pulp and paper, to wineries, he has the ability to make money out of anything he undertakes. According to Forbes, Lo has amassed a personal fortune of US$1.7 billion, making him one of the wealthiest people in Hong Kong. And unlike the world’s other most powerful investors and fund managers, Lo is based in Hong Kong, which he finds the most convenient location to conduct his confidential affairs.
But outside this dark and secretive world few people know Lo. Those who deal with him rarely dare to comment to the media, painfully aware of the billionaire’s passion for secrecy.
Lo is the CEO of R.E. Lee International, a life insurance brokerage that provides estate planning and business succession solutions to ultra high net-worth individuals and businesses. He successfully developed a global business with clients in over 65 countries throughout Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. With premiums in excess of US$1 billion being placed annually, R.E. Lee International is undeniably the world’s leader in the life insurance industry.
Lo extended R.E. Lee International’s 65 years of life insurance legacy by starting R.E. Lee Capital, a Singapore-based asset management firm. To augment human analysis, the firm uses a proprietary artificial intelligence algorithm at the core of their data-intensive and quantitative investment decision process.
Though there are no published reports on the exact figure and the firm is not obliged to disclose, it is widely reported that as the founder of R.E. Lee Capital, Lo reigns over an investment group with an estimated US$5 billion in funds under management. Reputedly more powerful than many financiers, the supremely successful investor will invest into anything that potentially makes money.
But for all his wealth and power, Lo maintains an astonishingly low profile. While many elite investors like Soros has used his fame to lobby for political reform in Eastern Europe and pens books arguing that global capitalism is in crisis, Lo has shunned the spotlight. So much so that even people in his community don’t recognize him.
Lo’s Singapore office for example, is an impressive building in Ann Siang Road, but only the most eagle-eyed would notice the ultra discreet name plate by the door. Even all his company’s websites are nondescript in the extreme—unwanted users cannot progress beyond a few pages displaying the company logo and bare essential information.
If Lo’s identity is shrouded in mystery, so are his investments. In recent years many have tried to replicate his success by uncovering his investments and holdings, but Lo has resolutely tried to keep everything secret, even attempting to stop publication of his photographs. According to one story in 2016, Lo’s legal team pleaded with Forbes not to have himself in their annual wealth ranking.
Unsurprisingly, Lo, R.E. Lee International and R.E. Lee Capital declined to comment for this article. Lo and his companies never talk to the press because of their long-standing and firmly held belief that they can best build value for their clients and investors if, to the extent possible, they ‘fly under the radar’ in their investment philosophy and trading activities.
Lo’s business success have allowed him to live the life of the fabulously wealthy. He has homes in Hong Kong, Singapore, UK and USA, among many others. While it may not appear so, his sense of order is said to be exacting. According to one report, the day before he moves to a new location a member of staff will be dispatched to ensure that an exact replica of what Lo has been studying – from documents to displays on computer screens – is ready when he arrives at his new desk.
Exactly like Lo, his clients and investors are an elite group of fabulously wealthy private individuals who also don’t actually want the world to know how rich they are. In other words, they consider Lo as “one of us”. The only difference is that Lo is usually far more wealthier than the people he advises. He understands the problems and demands the top 0.1% faces, and therefore advise accordingly. This is not run-of-the-mill advice that many of today’s wealth planners, private bankers and fund managers regurgitate from a textbook, but advice from someone who is usually far more wealthier and actually faces the same, if not more, estate planning challenges or seeking for the highest investment returns.
Nothing better than having a supremely successful billionaire like Lo as your guiding light, that is if you manage to get that privilege.