Finance adviser stays vigilant over unrest

Business | Tereza Cai 18 Jul 2019

The political and social unrest currently gripping Hong Kong may make investors and high-net-worth individuals adopt a wait-and-see attitude about potential investments and relocation of assets, said Laurence Li Lu-jen, chairman of Financial Services Development Council.

Commenting on rumors of an outflow of capital from the city, Li said that though it was hard to read the minds of people, he had not seen any evidence of an outflow of funds.

He believed the short-term impact of the unrest on the financial industry has been exaggerated.

However, Li said that Hong Kong should not ignore the threat the unrest poses to the finance industry, as competition in the wealth management industry competition within the region is quite fierce, and one of the council's goals is to reinforce the city stature as a financial hub.

In addition its focus on funds, private equities and private banking, the council also intends to release a policy study on family offices within the next few months.

Li also said the shortening of the five-day gap between the IPO pricing date and listing date could be realized this year.

Bonnie Chan, director of the council, said that the shelving of Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch InBev's Asian unit listing was an isolated incident, as there were other foreign companies who had recently submitted IPO applications.

She said that the proposal of shortening the five-day gap between the pricing and listing date could help reduce margin financing costs for investors.

Meanwhile, the FSDC released its sixth annual report for the financial year ended March 31, 2019. Over the period the council was active in research and published five reports that are instrumental to the further development of Hong Kong's financial services industry. These included maritime leasing; digital identification and know-your-customer utilities; environmental, social and governance strategy; life insurance; and the Mandatory Provident Fund system.

The council also opened a financial school in June, while an Asia financial school proposed by the council last year is yet to be established.

Stephen Wong Yuen-shan, a member of the council, said that the Asia school was still at the 'proof of concept' stage.

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