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SFST's speech


Following is the English translation of a speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Frederick Ma, at the ACCA Charity Fun Day 2003 today (December 14):

Chairman Lee, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning! I am delighted to officiate at the opening ceremony of the ACCA Charity Fun Day 2003. As one of the largest and fastest growing international professional accountancy body, ACCA not only takes care of the interests of its members, but also plays an active role in serving the community. The organisation of this charity fun day for the past six consecutive years speaks for itself.

The theme of this year's event is "Social Responsibility". Recently, I came across an article written by Mr Arthur Levitt, the former chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Allow me to share with you his insight into the role of accountants in shouldering social responsibility. He said "Accountants are charged with telling their customers when they are wrong". To me that really hits the nail on the head. Accountants are not only responsible to their customers or clients. They are ultimately responsible to the investors who place their trust and money in the truthfulness of financial statements. Investors rely on accountants to spot any anomalies in financial reporting. Society needs accountants who are not afraid to be the whistle blowers when the need arises. Accountants are indeed "private-sector actors" but they must also play their "public role".

So I count on you for unrelenting effort in promoting good corporate governance. The government attaches great importance to the standard of corporate governance. This is both an immediate need and an on-going requirement in our desire to build Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre, now and in the future.

The operating environment for the accounting profession has undergone drastic changes in the past couple of years. I am, however, encouraged by what I see and experience today. Members of the ACCA are not only dedicated to their profession. All of you who have contributed to this Charity Fun Day are also responsible and caring members of the community. You may have to be "cold blooded" when looking at the figures, but you have warm hearts when it comes to lending a helping hand to the less privileged.

It's now time for us to enjoy this morning's programme. May I wish the ACCA Charity Fun Day 2003 every success. Thank you.

End/Sunday, December 14, 2003


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