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Member Spotlight: 5 Minutes With Vincent Lim, Executive Director Of Sumo Siv


Vincent Lim is an Executive Director of Sumo SIV, the investment manager of the SUMO SIV Managed Funds which are Significant Investor Visa (SIV)-compliant managed funds.

Vincent is a trusted adviser to many high-net-worth individuals in Australia and across Asia.

In 1995, Vincent was awarded an Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) Asia-Pacific Fellowship to work and study Mandarin in China.

Vincent graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Economics, a Bachelor of Laws, and a Master of Laws. He also holds a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investments from FINSIA (Financial Services Institute of Australasia) and he has been a Fellow of FINSIA since 2002.

1. Tell us about your business and how you've leveraged your Australia-China connections to build your success in China?

Sumo SIV and its related entities within the SUMO Group provide investment and funds management services in Australia which include Significant Investor Visa (SIV)  complying investments, property-related funds management (commercial real estate investment, residential property development, lending to property developers), and venture capital investments.

A significant number of our investors, in particular the SIV investors, are from China.

We are fortunate at the SUMO Group to have a team of professionals who are fluent in Mandarin, have a deep and natural understanding of the Chinese culture and importantly, an excellent understanding of the cultural aspects of doing business in China.

I lived and worked in China in 1995 (under Austrade’s then Asia Pacific Fellowship Program for which I am eternally grateful), and have been involved in China-related business ever since. A number of our team members grew up in China and came to Australia for their tertiary studies and their professional training.

Over the years, we have also developed a network of business associates and partners with significant connections to China.

It is with this strong Australia-China foundation that we have been able to enter the Chinese market, work with our carefully chosen local Chinese partners, and successfully attracted clients and investors into Australia.

2. What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

A typical day is a long day! First thing in the morning, I spend some time planning and visualising my day ahead. I like to do the “thinking” work in the morning and the meetings in the afternoon but it doesn’t always work out that way! I check my emails in the morning and attend to all the important matters that need an immediate response first. I prioritise the things that I need to do and delegate whenever possible. I usually also get a lot of phone calls during the day but I try not to let them disrupt my schedule. Meetings are inevitable and important but I usually keep a few hours in a day free of meetings. Attending a business-related dinner or function in the evening is a common occurrence (at least 2 to 3 times a week) especially during the Christmas and Chinese New Year periods.

I am currently working on the setting up of a lending (debt) fund (a joint venture  with another funds management group) which will lend to property developers that have not been able to access funding from the banks, the setting up of a co-investment fund that will fund first home buyers up to 20% of their home purchase price in return for a share of the capital growth, the setting up of a venture capital fund (with a fintech focus), and the development of a film financing exchange (marketplace) that will match investors and film producers globally looking for funding.

3. What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business in/with China?

  • Understanding where and how your business fits within the existing market.
  • Thorough research and preparation before launching the business.
  • Having a team including external advisers that understand your business and that have significant experience in or dealing with China.
  • Having a trusted and reliable partner in China who has the relevant industry knowledge and who knows how to and is able to get things done within China.
  • Travelling regularly to China to see for yourself instead of just relying on reports or communication from others. 

4. How do you go about marketing your business in Australia/China and what has contributed to this success?

We develop and revise our marketing plan internally from time to time and consult with, discuss and seek advice from our partners, advisers and business associates (in Australia and in China) with significant experience in the Chinese market.

We have also learned from our own experience over the years as to what works and what doesn’t.

Success has come to us because we put ourselves forward to our clients and investors as professionals who:

  • have the relevant investment expertise and experience in Australia,
  • are honest and trustworthy,
  • understand our clients and investors, and their needs,
  • at all times have the best interests of our clients and investors at heart, and
  • consistently provide the highest level of client service and experience.

5. You have been very successful to date, but there have no doubt been challenges - what's been your biggest challenge that you have overcome in your business journey with China?

The biggest challenge has been the competition from the major institutions in attracting investors from China especially in the SIV investment management space. To an extent we have managed to overcome this through consistently and diligently promoting and differentiating our products, providing the highest levels of service to our investors and their advisers, and continuing to develop our own unique and innovative products.

6. What's your motto/mantra?

The ingredients for a successful relationship are mutual trust and understanding, honesty and transparency, a common purpose, alignment of interests, and a sense of humour.