Treasury chief attends ADB meeting

Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui continued to attend the 56th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Incheon, Korea, today.


Apart from speaking at the Governors’ Business Session, Mr Hui met the top management of the financial supervisory authority and an influential business association of Korea.


In response to the theme of this year’s annual meeting, “Rebounding Asia: Recover, Reconnect, & Reform”, Mr Hui said at the Governors’ Business Session this morning that the timely theme is the common goal of all countries in the post-COVID period. He elaborated that in order to achieve the ADB’s thematic 4Rs, Hong Kong has been doing 3Es and empowering private capital is the first of the 3Es.


Mr Hui said: “One of the global issues that we have been dealing with is climate change. Empowering private capital is pivotal in view of the increasing catastrophic events around the world.”


He added that Hong Kong launched a pilot grant scheme to sponsor the issue of insurance-linked securities (ILS) in 2021, facilitating four catastrophe bond issuances with a total issuance amount of US$560 million.


He noted that Hong Kong welcomes ADB members to make use of the city’s platform to issue ILS.


On “enlarging connectivity”, the second E, Mr Hui explained that Hong Kong’s well-established financial infrastructure and regulations enable mutual capital market access schemes with the Mainland, including Stock Connect, Bond Connect and Wealth Management Connect, which provide a more comprehensive product suite for investors.


The third E is “enabling technology”, covering the hot topics of fintech and virtual assets (VA).


Mr Hui pointed out that the two topics are new areas in which many jurisdictions are conducting consultations or contemplating regulations to facilitate reform of their financial systems and protection of investors’ interests. He also introduced Hong Kong’s efforts in this regard.


This afternoon, Mr Hui met Korea’s Financial Services Commission Chairman Kim Joo-hyun.


Noting the commission’s plan to promote digital finance with focuses on improving regulations and ensuring protection for digital finance users, Mr Hui said that Hong Kong, as an international financial centre, is open and inclusive towards the global community of innovators engaging in VA businesses.


He briefed Mr Kim on Hong Kong’s licensing regime for VA service providers. The new regime will align requirements for VA exchanges in terms of anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing, and investor protection to those currently applicable to traditional financial institutions, hence offering licensed VA exchanges the status and credibility to access more investors in the Hong Kong market.


Mr Hui also met Korea Enterprises Federation Executive Vice Chairman Lee Dong-geun. He emphasised that Hong Kong welcomes businesses and talent from overseas and has established dedicated teams to attract businesses and talent strategically.


Yesterday, Mr Hui paid a courtesy call on Chinese Ambassador to Korea Xing Haiming.


In addition to revealing that the Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau has adopted a strategy of bringing in and going out to drive the development of Hong Kong’s financial market, he stressed that he has introduced the city’s unique advantages under “one country, two systems” to Korea’s financial and business sectors.


During the day, Mr Hui met ADB Vice President Ahmed Saeed. He briefed Mr Saeed on Core Climate, an international carbon marketplace launched by Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing last year. They also discussed how ADB and Hong Kong can share their knowledge of fintech for the benefit of developing countries.


Mr Hui also had an exchange session with Kakao Pay Chief Executive Officer Shin Won-keun. Kakao Pay is a major mobile payment and digital wallet service based in Korea. Mr Hui welcomed the company to expand their business to Hong Kong.