Money managers say the massive protests that have rocked Hong Kong for three months and counting have been more an annoyance than a threat thus far to the special administrative region's status as a leading Asia asset management hub, even as they concede a turn for the worse can't be ruled out.
With Chinese military police positioned on Hong Kong's border with the mainland, Beijing warning it could intervene and a small minority of the territory's hundreds of thousands of demonstrators throwing Molotov cocktails and battling police, room for miscalculation remains ample on both sides.
So far, at least, the turmoil, and the potential for escalation, haven't soured money managers already established there on the territory.
There are no signs yet that the protests — which take place predominantly on the week- ends and the evenings — are prompting an exodus of money management talent from Hong Kong, said Andrew Tsui, chairman of executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry's Hong Kong office.
"I haven't heard of anyone on the financial-services side looking to move anywhere else," agreed Jeremy Harris, a founding partner with Wellesley Partners Ltd., a Hong Kong-based executive recruitment firm for the Asia-Pacific region.
Still, the recent spate of clashes and tense standoffs may be narrowing the flow of fresh money management blood to the territory.
Mr. Harris said for his business, fallout has been more noticeable on the recruitment side, where some potential candidates outside Hong Kong — looking at the protests through the prism of dramatic televised reports — have proven less willing to consider relocating there.
Likewise an asset servicing veteran, who declined to be named, noted that one hedge fund client looking to establish a base in the region ultimately opted for Singapore rather than Hong Kong, after weighing whether the special administrative region was "worth the hassle" now.