10 on The Weekend – Pearce Cheng: COVID Generating “Overwhelming” Interest in Singapore Immigration
Ten On The Weekend is a weekly feature on IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each weekend, we ask the same ten questions of a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.
This weekend’s guest is Pearce Cheng, CEO of AIMS Immigration & Relocation Specialist.
How do you spend your weekends?
As a business, we still work on all Saturdays and I like to spend time with the teams. I usually spend as much time as I can with my four children because I work late into the nights throughout the weekdays. We spend time discussing the new mobile games my boys are into and I get to hang out with my little girl and talk about her favorite toys and movies.
We also make it a point to exercise together as a family. Brisk walks in the parks, swimming, and cycling together is a typical Saturday evening and Sunday morning for me. We also have movie Sundays, after dinner. The above is very typical when I don’t travel for work and, thus, this has been very much my typical weekend for the last four months or so when all the borders of all our regional offices have been closed.
What are your top three business goals this year?
My top three business goals this year are to stay abreast of developments with my colleagues and the world to fight COVID-19. My colleagues are very much my family members, so I will make sure that they stay mentally and physically healthy and safe during this pandemic.
I am also looking at expanding our immigration and relocation services for all of the AIMS offices. Some of our regional offices are working closely together but there’s a lot of room for improvements as we synergize deeper and have more collaborations across 13 offices in ten countries.
Another goal is to ensure our company is more technologically in tune so we don’t get disrupted or phased out, i.e., to stay as relevant as possible within the immigration and relocation sector globally.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
Due to COVID-19, immigration departments around the world have been updating their policies and requirements. My biggest concern is how fast AIMS can move our customers over to their desired destination country without impacting their eligibility.
Which book is on your night-stand right now?
I always have two; one in the office and one beside my bed. Office book: Talk Like Ted, because I want to strengthen my presentation skills. Home book: Cometh the Hour by Jeffrey Archer – I’ve finished almost every single Jeffrey Archer book, and this is the 6th installment of the Clifton and Barrington series.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
I come from a banking and finance background and so I got in touch with investment-related immigration about 16 years ago. I first got into the investment migration industry when one of my banking clients wanted to find out about migration into Singapore.
Back then, the Monetary Authority of Singapore had a Financial Investor Scheme that required SGD5 million to be deposited into a Financial Institution in Singapore to be considered for a Singapore Permanent Resident status.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
My proudest moment was when Ms. Elsie Liow, my co-founder of AIMS, as well as my partner in life, in 2017 was awarded the title of Singapore’s Woman Entrepreneur of the year. That was a very very proud moment for me and for all of AIMS, indeed.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
Singapore. With the Economic Development Board tightening the requirements, we’re still faced with overwhelming volumes of inquiries. This is indeed surprising, bearing in mind COVID-19 kind of took over the world in January, and yet the inquiries haven’t declined and instead kept climbing for the past six months, meaning the first half of 2020, and it hasn’t stopped.
If you could go ten years back in time, what business decision would you change?
I would have channeled even more energy into developing the China market and probably gone in earlier. AIMS got into China in late 2013, and if we’d gotten in earlier, say in 2010, we would have a way larger market share now.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
I’ve personally caught up with Wang, Chairman of Delsk. I find him really enterprising and inspiring and he’s someone who has raised the bar for all solutions providers in the investment migration industry.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
The plan to take the company public has always been in the works and, I believe, by 2025, the management will be running the company at a different scale, but I’m truly excited about what is going to happen when the AIMS group of companies go public and I will be looking at the possibility to penetrate into a more global market once our Asia Pacific regional presence is deep enough.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.