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Hong Kong's role as global financial centre highlighted in New York

Hong Kong has a unique role in helping US-based financial services businesses grow in China and the rest of Asia.  This was emphasized by Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Ms Julia Leung.


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 Centre", 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 centres. 

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

She 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.

"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," Ms. Leung stated.

Also speaking at the conference was the Chief Executive Officer of the Securities and Futures Commission, Mr Martin Wheatley. Mr Wheatley explained how the continued development of the 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 centre. 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."

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