Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang at the opening ceremony of the OppenheimerFunds (Asia) Limited at the Ritz Carlton Hotel this (February 3) evening (English only):
Mr John Murphy, Mr Jerry Webman, Mr Lavin Mok, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here with you this evening to celebrate the grand opening of OppenheimerFunds (Asia) Limited in Hong Kong.
On behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, I want to express our appreciation to OppenheimerFunds for selecting Hong Kong as your first international base. This represents a vote of confidence in Hong Kong's strong economic fundamentals and further strengthens our leading position as an international fund management centre in Asia.
I can assure you that you have made the best strategic move by setting up OppenheimerFunds (Asia) Limited here. As the world's freest economy, Hong Kong offers many advantages for financial services companies, including a sophisticated financial market infrastructure, an efficient and transparent regulatory regime, low taxes, as well as a critical mass of talents with global exposure and experience.
We are determined to consolidate and enhance our role as an international financial center, serving not only Asia, but the entire world. For the fund management industry, Hong Kong offers tremendous growth opportunities. The bulk of the world's savings are generated within Asia. Located at the heart of Asia, Hong Kong is well placed to capture the fund management business. As at December 2003, the Securities and Futures Commission registered more than 1,800 authorised unit trusts and mutual funds, which, of course, have plenty of room for expansion.
Hong Kong's proximity to Mainland China also offers abundant business opportunities to fund management companies based in Hong Kong. Mainland China has a growing demand for fund management expertise to manage its massive savings pool and rapidly expanding retirement funds. Hong Kong is expected to play a key role in fostering the development of the Mainland's fund management industry, particularly providing a reservoir of experience in operation and risk management skills.
I am confident that OppenheimerFunds's presence in Hong Kong will further enhance the growth of the local fund management sector and the role of Hong Kong as a hub for international fund managers. Let me extend my congratulations to OppenheimerFunds and your staff on this wonderful occasion. I wish you every success in the years to come. Thank you.
Ends/ Tuesday, February 3, 2004