“Going Above and Beyond A Call of Duty“
Hong Kong-based billionaire Calvin Lo transforms his company R.E. Lee International into the world’s largest life insurance broker and stops at nothing to come to the aid of others.
For over 60 years, R.E. Lee International has provided premium life insurance solutions, including wealth protection, estate, and business succession planning, specifically designed for ultra high net worth individuals, families and businesses worldwide. The family-owned life insurance brokerage is now considered the world’s largest and most successful of its kind, and prides itself on innovation and its superlative expertise, having garnered global recognition in more than 65 countries around the globe.
R.E. Lee International was founded in 1954 by Robert E. Lee, who wrote the brokerage’s first jumbo life insurance for clients across Asia in 1994 prior to placing its first jumbo case valued at over USD150 million on one life in 2000. In 2014, the baton was eventually passed on to Calvin Lo, who joined the firm in 1998 now serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the brokerage and has successfully developed the global business to secure premiums in excess of USD1 billion on average per annum.
With strategic locations in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Shanghai, Zurich and Seattle, R.E. Lee comprises lawyers, certified public accountants, chartered accountants, chartered life underwriters and certified financial planners, and collaborates with experts in international taxation, insurance, law and finance to tailor personalised plans for its customers through a complex multilayered transaction that enables utmost confidentiality. Many of the brokerage’s customers also involve affluent families whose members are dispersed across the world, thus one of the brokerage’s most prominent proficiencies includes a comprehensive cognizance on the various tax and regulatory considerations worldwide.
Lo now helms operations across all R.E. Lee International’s locations, and later went on to extend the brokerage’s life insurance legacy in 2017 by establishing R.E. Lee Capital – a Singapore-based asset management firm which augments human analysis by leveraging on a proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm at the forefront of its data-intensive and quantitative investment decision-making processes.
Today, the Hong Kong native ranks among the wealthiest individuals in Asia and commands a net worth of USD 1.7 billion, as tallied by Forbes in 2019. Needless to say, the insurance entrepreneur remains astute on his eclectic investments, with various reports confirming the acquisition of the Williams F1 team and Mandarin Oriental Taipei. He is also said to be Asia’s largest investor and collector of French champagne, and is one of the first owners of the Gulfstream G650 private jet in Asia.
Having learned directly from Robert E. Lee himself before his passing in 2015, the reputable financier goes above and beyond in helping his customers solve elaborate problems with a personalised approach and displays a formidable sense of empathy and compassion for people with a hands-off leadership style. A humble leader through and through, the graduate from Queen’s and Harvard University also credits his parents for his modest upbringing that involved copious discipline, which ultimately shaped his worldview today.
Lo’s earnestness for his business and his championing of the importance of insurance and investment portfolios is synonymous with R.E. Lee International’s core values: innovation, loyalty, integrity and precision. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its enforced inactivity across Asia, Lo managed to turn things around by prompting clients to reassess their insurance policies and estate plans. While the brokerage typically secures some USD1 billion in premiums yearly, this benchmark was surpassed by September 2020 with an overall annual growth of 25%.
Most business leaders are set on nothing more than growing their bottom lines, yet Lo invests his personal wealth into instigating positive change in the lives of others through his philanthropic efforts without reservations, as seen through his think thank “The 195 Project”, which aims to engage respected business leaders from across the globe, to discuss and formulate policies to address various issues affecting the world today. His charitable spirit and generosity affirms his moral responsibility and fundamentally attests that capitalism can be conscientious.
“As the CEO of R.E. Lee International, Calvin Lo has mastered the elusive skill of engendering trust and loyalty in others to such an extent that has precipitated the immeasurable success of his life insurance brokerage. That in itself is a true sign of an authentic leader.”
Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group