Hong Kong's Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Highlights Hong Kong's Role as Global Financial Center to New York Audience

Mar 01, 2011, 11:29 ET from InvestHK

NEW YORK, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Ms Julia Leung, today said that Hong Kong has a unique role in helping US-based financial services businesses grow in China and the rest of Asia.

Speaking to an audience of more than 200 senior financial services executives at the opening of the New York conference, "Hong Kong: China's Global Financial Center", Ms Leung outlined the synergies between Hong Kong and New York; including, economic freedom, flow of capital and information, leadership in equities fund raising and preeminent roles as international financial centers.

Ms Leung noted that, as the largest Foreign Direct Investment provider to China, Hong Kong is playing a constructive role as an incubator and testing ground for new ideas in the opening of China's financial markets.

Ms Leung remarked that the established market discipline in Hong Kong can bring mainland companies the much needed international best practices in corporate governance, accounting, disclosure and management. Hong Kong also offers attractive valuations and a deep international liquidity pool. A manifestation of this role is the listing of four state-owned banks.

Ms Leung added: "Hong Kong plays a role different from Shanghai and not replaceable by Shanghai. Hong Kong is part of China, yet distinct and separate from the financial market of China under 'One Country, Two Systems'. This allows RMB convertibility to be tested in Hong Kong while providing a natural firewall to protect financial security on the Mainland markets."

Also speaking at the conference was the Chief Executive Officer of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), Mr Martin Wheatley. Mr Wheatley explained how the continued development of Hong Kong's regulatory regime has shielded it from the global financial crisis.

He said, "Hong Kong's robust financial regulatory regime augments its attraction as an international financial center. The strength of our market was patently evident in the way it overcame the global financial crisis with remarkable resilience and sensible regulatory responses. We are committed to continuing a balanced regulatory approach, maintaining transparency, strengthening investor protection, and keeping abreast of international standards."

The conference focused in particular on the development of Hong Kong as Asia's asset management hub, as it continues to attract new asset managers to the region. Hong Kong's fund management business rebounded strongly in 2009, with a year-on-year increase in combined assets under management of 45.4 percent to US$1,091 billion as at the end of the year. Assets under management specifically for the hedge fund industry reached US$63.2 billion at the end of September 2010.

The Deputy Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Mr Eddie Yue, commented: "We are already seeing more and more asset managers looking to set up and expand offices in Hong Kong to capture these investment opportunities in Asia. I believe what we are seeing today is only the beginning of a period of exceptional growth in Hong Kong's financial services industry."

The Director-General of Investment Promotion at Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), Mr Simon Galpin, said, "We are seeing a growing number of financial services businesses move to Hong Kong. Companies from the US, mainland China and the UK have topped the list and we have seen a particular increase in the number of asset managers moving to the region."

The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and InvestHK of the Government of the HKSAR, supported by the HKMA and SFC hosted the conference in New York.

For event photos, please visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/investhk/sets/72157626133477652.

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Notes to Media

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About Invest Hong Kong

Invest Hong Kong is the department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government established in July 2000 to take responsibility for Foreign Direct Investment and support overseas and Mainland businesses to set up or expand in Hong Kong. It provides free advice and customised services to help businesses succeed in Hong Kong's vibrant economy. As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, Invest Hong Kong has completed over 2,100 investment projects creating over 26,000 new jobs in the first year of operation or expansion and HK$57 billion of investment. For more information, please visit www.investhk.gov.hk.

About Financial Services & Treasury Bureau

Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) is responsible for developing and executing government policy on finance and treasury for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The FSTB works closely with market regulators and participants to strengthen Hong Kong's role as an international financial center. On the Treasury front, it formulates and implements policies and procedures to ensure effective control and management of public revenues and expenditure. For more information please visit www.fstb.gov.hk

About the HKMA

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is the government authority in Hong Kong responsible for maintaining monetary and banking stability.  Established in 1993, the HKMA has four main functions: maintaining currency stability within the framework of the Linked Exchange Rate system; promoting the stability and integrity of the financial system, including the banking system; helping to maintain Hong Kong's status as an international financial center, including the maintenance and development of Hong Kong's financial infrastructure; and managing the Exchange Fund.  For more information, please visit www.hkma.gov.hk.

About SFC

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is an independent non-governmental statutory body responsible for regulating the securities and futures markets in Hong Kong. Founded in 1989, the regulator has three main functions: maintaining order in the marketplace, supporting market development and educating and protecting investors. For more information, please visit www.sfc.hk.