Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, delivers a speech at the forum “Hong Kong Way Forward — The Future of Hong Kong as an International Financial Centre”in Hong Kong, Aug 18, 2022. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s status as an international financial center will strengthen as it makes further strides toward renminbi internationalization, green investment, and digitalization with the nation’s firm support, financial leaders and pundits said at a forum.
The event, themed “Hong Kong Way Forward — The Future of Hong Kong as an International Financial Centre”, was held by local think tank Our Hong Kong Foundation on Thursday.
Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, said Hong Kong’s potential to be a green finance center has been recognized by the central government, and the city is playing a vital role in the country’s target of being carbon neutral by 2060.
“We need over US$20 trillion of green investments in the next 15 years to realize the decarbonization goal”, and Hong Kong can support companies involved in green finance with “listing regulations, education and innovation”, said HKEX CEO Nicolas Aguzin
“We need over US$20 trillion of green investments in the next 15 years to realize the decarbonization goal”, and Hong Kong can support companies involved in green finance with “listing regulations, education and innovation”, he said in his keynote speech.
Hong Kong will also leverage its unique advantage as a “superconnecter” between the Chinese mainland market and the overseas market to develop the innovation and technology sector and entice global innovators and capital to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as the region works to become an I&T powerhouse, he said.
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Aguzin stressed Hong Kong’s resilience and liquidity of its capital market when confronting global headwinds, including geopolitical tensions and the pandemic.
The financial hub was in third place globally in the Global Financial Centres Index in 2022, published by the UK consultancy Z/Yen and the Shenzhen-based China Development Institute. In addition, the Fraser Institute, a Canadian public policy think tank, ranked Hong Kong the world’s freest economy in the Economic Freedom of the World 2021 Annual Report, while the city’s capital market remained “vibrant” with a HK$167 billion ($21.3 billion) turnover in the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong last year, representing a 92 percent growth compared with 2019, he said.
Norman Chan Tak-lam, former chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said that under the “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong’s position as a global financial hub will continue to be enhanced with emerging opportunities presented by the country's economic growth and the development of the Greater Bay Area.
To improve Hong Kong’s competitiveness, digital transformation for Hong Kong in financial services is “much more than upgrading banking and trading systems”, Chan said. “We need to put in place the necessary legal and policy infrastructure, so that the digital asset can be created, customized, traded, settled and finance safely, efficiently in Hong Kong,” he added.
Norman Chan Tak-lam, former chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, delivers a speech at the forum
“Hong Kong Way Forward — The Future of Hong Kong as an International Financial Centre”in Hong Kong, Aug 18, 2022. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Chan also called on regulators from Hong Kong and the mainland to work together to develop the city as the leading green finance center in Asia, and to further expand capital-flow channels to meet the increasing demand for more open and diversified investment products.
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Lawrence Lau Juen-yee, an economist and vice-chairman of Our Hong Kong Foundation, said Hong Kong should capitalize on the fact that it is a global offshore renminbi center and promote renminbi use in financial transactions.
“The fixed Hong Kong dollar peg with the US dollar used to be an anchor for the Hong Kong economy, but could become its Achilles’ heel because of potential US sanctions. One way to hedge against the effects of any change in the peg is to promote the greater use of the renminbi in capital markets and in everyday transactions,” he said.