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CE's speech at 12th anniversary reception of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, at a cocktail reception to celebrate the 12th anniversary reception of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited this evening (June 15):

Chairman (C K) Chow, Mr Charles Li, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

     Thank you, C K, for inviting me to join the celebration for the 12th anniversary of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx). Allow me also to congratulate you on becoming HKEx Chairman and on the successful acquisition of the London Metal Exchange.

     HKEx has come a very long way since its inception in the year 2000. Those were difficult times, when there were tough negotiations about the merger of the exchanges and how we should go forward. But like a mythical phoenix, it was born out of fire. Amid the Asian financial crisis in 1999 in Hong Kong, when I was Financial Secretary, we announced a package of reforms for our securities and futures markets. This included modernising the structure governing our exchanges and clearing houses. In the year 2000, HKEx was formed by merging the then stock exchange, futures exchange and the clearing houses. Later that same year it became one of the first stock exchanges in the world to go public.

     Over the past 12 years, HKEx has retained its pioneering spirit through the vision of its Board of Directors and the dedication of its staff.

     At last count, our exchange was the third largest bourse in Asia and sixth largest in the world by market capitalisation. At the end of May, the market cap was over US$2.3 trillion.

     As C K has just mentioned, HKEx has been the world's largest market for initial public offerings (IPOs). For each of the past three years we have been number one. Last year, total IPO funds raised exceeded US$33 billion. Mainland firms accounted for 52 per cent of IPO equity funds raised last year. Today, almost 700 Mainland firms are listed in Hong Kong.

     I also congratulate the HKEx on its successful promotional activities overseas. Last year alone, the United States, Kazakh, Italian, Japanese and Swiss companies were listed in Hong Kong for the first time. No doubt more will follow.

     HKEx is working together with the Securities and Futures Commission to further streamline its listing process for overseas companies from different jurisdictions. The proposals are designed to streamline the listing procedures and to provide greater clarity to the market.

     To support Hong Kong's development as an offshore Renminbi centre, HKEx has optimised the market infrastructure for the listing, trading and clearing of Renminbi products. Initiating the Trading Support Facility and the "Dual Tranche, Dual Counter" model are instrumental in developing a comprehensive range of Renminbi-traded products and expanding our role as an international financial centre.

     By the end of this year, HKEx will set up a central counterparty to provide clearing services for over-the-counter derivatives trade. This is in line with our efforts to fulfil our commitment made to the G20 leaders. I am also grateful to the HKEx for its support in developing a scripless securities market and the related infrastructure. Our market now comes of age. Following the acquisition of the London Metal Exchange, Hong Kong will enlarge its lead as the premier international financial centre in the region.

     Now, back to the mythical phoenix. By some accounts, the phoenix is an immortal creature, rejuvenating itself every 500 years exactly. If only the financial markets were so predictable! Alas, in the current volatile climate it is difficult to accurately predict what the international markets will do from one week to the next, and even from one day to the next. However, their trust in HKEx will certainly grow as we expand, and international confidence in how we trade, how we do business, continues to grow.

     HKEx has proven itself over the past 12 years through good times and during times of financial turbulence like the present.

     I sincerely congratulate you on your achievements over the past 12 years and wish the HKEx a long and successful future, leading Hong Kong to a new plateau and leading our nation to a new skyline.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Friday, June 15, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:18


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