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Speech by PSFS at Keynote Luncheon of Asian Financial Forum (English only) (with photo/video)

     Following is the speech by the Permanent Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury (Financial Services), Miss Au King-chi, at the Keynote Luncheon of the Asian Financial Forum today (January 15):

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

     On behalf of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, let me again extend a warm welcome to you all.

     Over the past one and a half days, the Forum has provided us with many insights on the latest global and regional economic and financial development. At the same time, it has also given us a taste of Hong Kong as a hub for the exchange of information and ideas coming from all over the world.

     I am delighted that among the illustrious list of speakers, Dr Zhu Min has joined us here to share with us his views on the global economy and financial markets.

     Let me say a few words about our distinguished speaker today.

     Dr Zhu, a native of Mainland China, assumed the position of Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2011. Prior to this appointment, Dr Zhu served as Special Advisor to the Managing Director of the IMF from 2010 to 2011. He is the first Chinese to assume a senior management role in the IMF. This is a very significant appointment for strengthening the relationship between the IMF and the emerging economies.

     Before joining the IMF, Dr Zhu was a Deputy Governor of the People's Bank of China, responsible for international affairs, policy research and credit information. Prior to his service at the Mainland's central bank, he held various positions in the Bank of China where he served as Group Executive Vice President, responsible for finance and treasury, risk management, internal control, legal and compliance, and strategy and research. Dr Zhu also worked in the World Bank and taught economics at both the Johns Hopkins University in the United States and Fudan University in China. Dr Zhu has published extensively on a wide range of macroeconomic management, financial regulation and supervision, and financial market issues.

     In a recent public appearance, Dr Zhu said that "first insurance against shocks is to build policy space and buffers and implement structural reforms during good times". He was referring to the virtues for small economies to maintain comfortable foreign reserves and low debt, both of which are being practised by Hong Kong.

     But allow me to stretch Dr Zhu's advice a little into financial regulation.

     We have witnessed extensive changes in regulatory approaches and structures in advanced economies for addressing problems exposed by the 2008 international financial crisis. For Hong Kong, thanks to various regulatory reforms introduced after the Asian financial crisis in 1997, and robust growth in Mainland China, we have demonstrated a relatively higher degree of resilience to external shocks.

     Yet there is no room for complacency. We have spared no efforts in strengthening our regulatory regime for better investor protection and higher market quality. These include the establishment of a regime for resolving financial disputes through mediation and arbitration for our retail investors, and regulatory reforms for the insurance sector in line with international practices.

     We believe that transparency and quality attract liquidity, and that is what makes a market tick. To this end, we have put in place a short position reporting regime, and a regime for listed companies to disclose price sensitive information. Also we are introducing measures to encourage IPO sponsors to raise standards of the listing process.

     On prudential regulation, we play an active role in shaping the international agenda and honouring our obligations as a responsible player in the global financial community. Thanks to support from the industry and our legislature, we are implementing reforms on Basel III and pursuing regulatory measures of OTC derivatives in accordance with G20 commitments.

     Ladies and gentlemen, I have shared with you some of our work relating to enhancing Hong Kong's financial stability to support our role as an international financial centre. I am sure all of you are very eager to hear from Dr Zhu on the role of the IMF in maintaining global financial stability, as well as the outlook for the global and Asian economies. Without further ado, may I invite Dr Zhu on stage.

Ends/Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:59


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