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Speech by Financial Secretary at Financial World Expo (English only) (with photos)

    Following is the speech (English only) by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, at the opening ceremony of the Financial World Expo 2006 this morning (October 6):

Ms Juliana Lam, Mr Bernard Chan, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to join you all at the opening ceremony of the Financial World Expo 2006 organised by the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong.  

     With the general public's increasing awareness of the importance of early retirement planning and substantial growth in personal wealth in the region, we can see a growing demand for wealth management and related services.  In fact, this year's Expo has received very enthusiastic response from exhibitors from various financial professions and the exhibition area this year tripled that of the first Expo held two years ago.

     Hong Kong's development as a leading asset management centre is premised on a number of our core strengths, like the rule of law, a robust and effective regulatory regime, absence of foreign exchange control, world's freest economy, and one of the world's most efficient tax systems, which is further enhanced by the recent abolition of estate duty and the exemption of offshore funds from profit tax.  In the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2006-2007 released last month, Hong Kong takes the leading position (out of 125 economies) in the world in terms of market efficiency.  The report also remarks that Hong Kong is characterised by high-quality infrastructure, flexible and efficient market, healthy and well-educated workforce and high levels of technological readiness and innovative capacity.  

     Last year, Hong Kong's combined fund management business reached HK$4,526 billion, which stands for a 25% increase compared with the previous year.  Looking ahead, we see a favourable and promising outlook for our wealth management industry.  The rapid economic growth in the Mainland has effectuated greater accumulation of personal savings, thus a huge demand for investment and wealth management services. And with increasing liberalisation of exchange control, I believe the market potential is enormous. Located at the door-step of the Mainland of China, Hong Kong is well placed to tap into this huge pool of savings and offer our first-class wealth management services.

     For the sustainable growth of a wealth management industry, expertise is the most critical and crucial element.  In this connection, I am glad to learn that the number of Certified Financial Planners in Hong Kong has already exceeded 2 000, making Hong Kong "Number One" in Asia in terms of the ratio of Certified Financial Planners to our population.  It is an obvious sign that our financial planners are serving a lot more than our own population.

     The Government also attaches great importance to investor education.  I am pleased to see that more than 50 seminars on investor education will be organized during the Expo to cater for the different needs of our investing public.  The Securities and Futures Commission has also set up an investor education website and produced educational pamphlets to enhance public understanding.  I am sure all these will help equip our investors with the necessary knowledge and vital information before making investment decisions.

     In closing, I would like to congratulate the Institute and the exhibitors for staging this spectacular event.  I wish the Expo every success and all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous Mid-Autumn Festival.  Thank you very much.

Ends/Friday, October 6, 2006
Issued at HKT 12:25


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