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Speech by SFST at MOU Signing Ceremony between HKUST and NYU (English only)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Frederick Ma, at the MOU Signing Ceremony between the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the New York University today (March 9):

President [Roland] Chin, Professor [Edward] Altman, Professor [K C] Chan, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to join you today. The signing of the MoU between the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the New York University marks the beginning of even closer collaboration between the universities. The new postgraduate Master of Science in Global Finance programme offered by the NYU Stern School of Business and the HKUST Business School aims to provide young professionals with unrivalled chances to enhance and sharpen their professionalism from world renowned professors based in Hong Kong and New York, two major financial markets in the world.

     The New York Stock Exchange is first in the world in terms of market capitalisation. Our young professionals studying in New York will no doubt benefit from the international and multicultural cosmopolitan perspective. On this side of the world, our stock market ranked 1st in Asia in terms of equity funds raised in 2006. Overseas professionals studying in Hong Kong will experience first hand our unique blend of east and west. Whilst learning how our financial markets here operate, they will also have the chance to establish connections in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

     Over the past 10 years, China's GDP has increased at nearly a double-digit average growth rate. Hong Kong has developed as a channel for international capital to invest in Mainland enterprises, positioning prominently as the premier capital formation centre for these enterprises. As at the end of 2006, there were 367 Mainland enterprises listed on our stock exchange, raising more than US$180 billion.  Moreover, with the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between Mainland and Hong Kong, our financial services professionals have greater market access and flexibility to conduct business in the Mainland. All these have further strengthened Hong Kong's role as a gateway to the Mainland.  

     To reinforce our position as an international financial market and a premier capital formation centre for the Mainland, the Hong Kong Government attaches great importance to the training and nurturing of talents. We set up in 2000 the Advisory Committee on Human Resources Development in the Financial Services Sector (FinMan Committee), comprising representatives from the Government, the industry, regulators, professional bodies and training services providers, to foster better co-ordination of efforts on financial services manpower development. Over the past few years, the FinMan Committee has been giving much emphasis on the importance of continuing professional education, including the engagement of exchange programme, which keeps the knowledge and practice of our professionals updated in the fast-changing world, and allows those young professionals to gain a global perspective of the markets. I am pleased to note that much of the activities of our FinMan Committee has brought to fruition and particularly, a strong collaboration has been built among the Government, industry and academia, including of course the HKUST.

     The FinMan Committee renders its strong support to the collaboration between HKUST and NYU and to their organisation of the new Master of Science programme in Global Finance, which provides good professional development opportunities for the financial services industry. I also hope that there will be more joint programmes of this kind offered by local universities and renowned overseas universities like the NYU.

     Before closing, let me congratulate both universities in establishing the co-operative ties.  The partnership between HKUST and NYU promises synergy for both schools and cities. I was born and received education in Hong Kong and am so fortunate to have the working experience in New York, Toronto and London. I must say it is a much telling and invaluable opportunity. Young professionals of today are more fortunate than those of my time when there were no such programmes. Thanks to Professor Altman, Professor Chan and all those involved for your joint effort in organising this new programme to bring professionals to another new height. Hong Kong welcomes talents to stay and work in our market. May I wish the new programme and its participants every success. Thank you.

Ends/Friday, March 9, 2007
Issued at HKT 18:52


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