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HKMA-SFC-OECD Asian Seminar "Evolution of Financial Consumer Protection and Education in Asia" (with photo)

The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority:

     The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developments (OECD) jointly organised an Asian Seminar on "Evolution of Financial Consumer Protection and Education in Asia" in Hong Kong on December 13 and 14. The Seminar which will last for one and a half days started today (December 13).

     In his key address at the Seminar, the Acting Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Eddie Yue, highlighted the importance of financial consumer protection and education to Hong Kong, where the financial industry is so central to the economy. In order to achieve a high level of financial consumer protection and education, the concerted efforts of the three stakeholders: the financial institutions, the financial regulators and the financial consumers, are essential. Financial institutions have a direct interest in upholding the reputation of the industry as a whole. Mr Yue believed that the success of upholding reputation or integrity rests on two pillars: nurturing a culture of honesty among practitioners, and an absolute commitment to prioritise the interest of customers above profit maximisation. Whereas, financial regulators should expand their efforts to protect and educate consumers.

     As far as financial consumers are concerned, Mr Yue pointed out that they should understand a product's features and risks thoroughly before investing. In particular, they have to consider whether or not an investment suits their objectives, and whether they have the ability to assume the associated risks. Thus, a key component of any efforts to enhancing financial education and protection must be improving individuals' ability to ask the right questions and increase their awareness that ultimately they are responsible for their investment decision.

     Mr Yue concluded by asking the stakeholders to bend their efforts towards greater financial literacy. Through initiatives to better inform and empower consumers, they can be the judge of their own best interests. That way, the benefits accrue not only to individual consumers, but to the sector and society more widely.

     The Seminar has attracted over 120 local and overseas participants, including representatives from regulatory and supervisory authorities, financial industry practitioners, industry associations, consumer and investor education bodies and academics.

Ends/Thursday, December 13, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:21


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