Meanders through the ever-changing world: Strategising new ways for the financial sector of Hong Kong
The seminar on Financial Services Development in Hong Kong amidst an Ever-changing World co-hosted by HKU Business School and the Hong Kong Academy of Finance (AoF), was successfully held on 16 July. Over 250 students, alumni, and members of the AoF had joined us via zoom or in person.
Facing the challenges of geopolitical tensions and the rise of disruptive technologies, stakeholders of Hong Kong must unite and fathom new strategies to breakthrough. Against this backdrop, we have collaborated with the AoF, a renowned academic hub dedicated in bridging the intellectual might of academia, the industry, professional training institutes and the regulatory community. We are honoured to invite Mr. KC Kwok, CEO of AoF, and three gargantuan elites from the banking, securities, and insurance sectors, to share with us their sagacious knowledge.
Professor Yuk-fai Fong, Associate Dean (Taught Postgraduate) and Professor of Management and Strategy and Economics, kick-started the seminar with an overview of the challenges our financial sector are facing. Mr. KC Kwok then further elaborated his points with detailed statistics, pointing out that our financial sector is undaunted by the pandemic and its lion share in our GDP will only keep expanding. “As Hong Kong is working with international partners in the development of digital currency projects for cross-border payments, we will carry more clout in the global financial market. But against the backdrop of a low-interest rate, regulators and investors have to remain vigilant,” said Mr. Kwok.
The banking sector has not slacked, and local banks have been working closely with regulatory authorities on the development and promotion of fintech. Ms. Miranda Kwok, President and Executive Director, China Construction Bank (Asia), had also used her career story to demonstrate the adaptability and vigour of local banking elites. “While some criticise that our regulations are too tight for innovation, the stability of our banking sector must not be sacrificed. We innovate in accordance to the market’s demand,” said Ms. Kwok.
Ms. Ding Chen, CEO, CSOP Asset Management Limited, told us that the problems of income inequality, climate changes, and ageing population, are imminent threats to the world. As such, investments in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) related issues will become increasingly important, so as the role of data science in these aspects. “It is easier to collect international financial transaction data in Hong Kong compared to other mainland cities, which makes it the excellent place for quantitative trading and big data development,” commented Ms. Ding. She observed that local business schools have conducted excellent research over the years, but more communication between the private sector and academia is needed to better utilise this great treasure. Mr. KC Kwok agreed, and he told us that the AoF has been advocating applied research in recent years.
As the world changes rapidly and unseen threat like COVID emerges, Mr. Jingwei Jia, CEO Greater China, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, believed that risk assessments are increasingly difficult and Hong Kong must develop its tech capability to stay relevant. He exhorted students to be humble and innovative to leverage on the mass market of the mainland. “As geopolitical tensions worsens, more of the mainland’s emphasis has inevitably shifted inwards, Hong Kong’s position as China’s gateway will be further strengthened,” said Mr. Jia.
Our distinguished guests have shown us that fintech, ESG, and quantitative trading are the feasible paths we should take. The future may be unpredictable, but as our students are equipped with patience, perseverance, and good communication skills, we believe that they can grasp every opportunity and excel.