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SFST's speech at Accenture FinTech's Finest Forum 2022 (English only)
     Following is the opening speech by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, at the Accenture FinTech's Finest Forum 2022 today (October 12):
Marco (Managing Director, Hong Kong Financial Services Lead of Accenture Greater China, Mr Marco Tsui), Peter (Chief Executive Officer of Cyberport, Mr Peter Yan), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     Good afternoon. I am very delighted to join you all at Accenture FinTech's Finest Forum 2022 and meet with some of the best financial technology leaders and entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, academics and so many others who have seen the future of banking and know that it will be built on technology. I am also pleased to announce to you all, with the relaxation of our hotel quarantine measures last month, Hong Kong is back and we are ready for the fintech market.
     Today's forum provides an excellent opportunity for us to see innovations coming into reality and being commercialised at the booths, and for exchange of ideas on hot topics such as metaverse, NFT and sustainability during the Roundtable and panel discussions. I also learnt that this is also part of the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific (FILAP) 2022 programme, which is a highly competitive challenge-based accelerator programme that provides much assistance to fintech start-ups and had received overwhelming responses in the previous years.
     Under the Government's joint and consistent efforts with regulators and industry players, we have seen a vibrant fintech ecosystem taking shape here in the territory in recent years with over 600 fintech companies operating in Hong Kong. These companies embrace many different technologies, including big data, AI, blockchain, InsurTech (insurance technology), RegTech (regulation technology), CreditTech (credit technology) and WealthTech (wealth management technology), offering tremendous application and commercialisation possibilities in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and beyond. They also provide services in various sectors, to name a few, including virtual banks, cross-boundary transfer, intelligent financial consultancy, and blockchain, etc.
     Fintech is more than just the application of state-of-the-art technology to develop new financial services and products. It optimises operation efficiency. Fintech development has already been reshaping our financial services with innovative new modes of service delivery, enhanced consumer experience and greater operational efficiency.
     The Hong Kong SAR Government places the development of innovation and technology (I&T) very high on its agenda, attaches great importance to working with financial regulators, relevant agencies and the trade to devise measures in order to facilitate the development and nurture fintech talents.
     Just as the Accenture FinTech Innovation Lab, the Government is keen on providing subsidies to fintech institutions so that they could realise their innovation concepts. The Fintech Proof-of-Concept (PoC) Subsidy Scheme was launched in 2021, granting subsidies to fintech institutions to partner with financial institutions to test new and practical fintech solutions. The scheme was well received by the trade, with over 90 projects approved benefitting over 70 fintech firms and financial institutions. As a result, a new round of the PoC Subsidy Scheme has just been rolled out in September 2022, which would be even more attractive as the coverage is expanded to provide funding not just to fintech companies partnering with financial institutions, but also to research institutions. The subsidy for each approved project has also been increased to $150,000 to as high as $400,000.
     To deepen financial practitioners' understanding of fintech, thereby promoting wider adoption of fintech in the financial services sector, we launched in 2020 the Financial Practitioners FinTech Training Programme to provide training courses for financial practitioners in an array of fintech-related subjects. It attracted participation of over 1 200 financial practitioners from the banking, insurance and securities sectors. An enhanced new round of training programme has been launched in February 2022. Over 2 000 financial practitioners have enhanced their fintech knowledge and awareness by attending the programme thus far, and hopefully some of you also benefited from that programme.
     We have also implemented a new round of the FinTech Anti-epidemic Scheme for Talent Development in July 2022 to subsidise local fintech companies, start-ups and other companies with fintech-related operations to create 1 000 new full-time jobs to employ local people with a view to enriching Hong Kong's fintech talent pool, with a total funding of $120 million. The last round of the application received overwhelming response, with over 700 jobs created, and many talents recruited being young people. The new round of the scheme was launched in July 2022, benefitting more enterprises in need and generating more opportunities for talents locally and from other places wishing to join the fintech industry.
     On professional development, we are actively developing professional qualifications recognised under the Qualifications Framework for fintech practitioners. This will enable the fintech talent to obtain a broadly recognised and quality-assured qualification, facilitate their professional development and enrich the local fintech talent pool. The first batch of fintech professional qualifications applicable for the banking sector has been rolled out early this month. To encourage practitioners to obtain fintech professional qualifications, the 2022-23 Budget announced that the Government would implement the Pilot Scheme on Training Subsidy for Fintech Practitioners this year to provide reimbursement to those who have successfully attained fintech professional qualifications of 80 per cent of the tuition fees, with around 1 500 places to be offered.
     Ladies and gentlemen, with the favourable regulations and all of the highly talented people I am seeing here today, I am confident that Hong Kong is the perfect breeding ground for fintech development. I am sure you will learn and hear a lot more from the fintech innovators and our regulators later on, and I wish you all a stimulating exchange and most rewarding experience at the Accenture FinTech's Finest Forum 2022. Thank you very much.
Ends/Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:37
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