Opening remarks by FS at Wealth for Good in Hong Kong Summit Luncheon (English only) (with photo)
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Wealth for Good in Hong Kong Summit, and to Hong Kong. This is our inaugural family office gathering. I'm delighted you could join us for lunch and the informative Summit to follow, at this stately Hong Kong Palace Museum, where we treasure and proudly present our national heritage.
Once you've had time to digest the unique advantages Hong Kong has for you and your family office, I'm confident you'll be joining us for good, right here in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong for family offices
Allow me to spend some minutes to elaborate why Hong Kong is the prime choice for the top global family offices.
It all starts with trust and security. For a long time, Hong Kong has won trust from investors from all around the world. Under the "one country, two systems" policy, Hong Kong has maintained the common law system, and the judiciary exercises its powers independently. Our regulatory regimes align with the highest international standards. We maintain a freely convertible currency and free flow of capital with no exchange control. And our country has made a solemn commitment to the world that the "one country, two systems" policy is to stay in the long run.
Investors' trust in us is also built on experience. They know we set clear rules for our markets and ensure a level playing field. They know, too, that policies and practices are implemented in a transparent, consistent and predictable manner.
Besides, we attach top priority to financial stability and security. Through sound and prudent regulation and monitoring, we make sure that our financial sector has built a strong buffer and is resilient, despite external turbulence. Take our banking sector as an example. The capital adequacy ratio is at 21 per cent, and the liquidity coverage ratio is at 163 per cent. They are all well above international standards. In the midst of the recent turmoil that is going on elsewhere, our financial sector has remained enviably sure and stable.
Beyond trust and security, Hong Kong's world-class financial infrastructure, deep market liquidity and diversity of products and services are offering enormous growth and investment opportunities for family offices.
Consider the breadth and depth of our equity market. At the end of December 2022, the market capitalisation of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange stood at around US$4.6 trillion, around 13 times of Hong Kong's GDP (gross domestic product). It still has ample room to grow, given our status as China's only international financial centre.
And Hong Kong is blessed with our expanding and deepening mutual access schemes with the Mainland, ranging from stocks to bonds, and more recently, to ETFs and swap contracts. We are the natural gateway to access both the Mainland market and international capital, and vice versa. We are the only city in the world where both the international advantage and the China's advantage converge.
Hong Kong also has a strong ecosystem of professional services, covering not just finance and accounting, but also legal and dispute resolution, risk management, and much more. They are here to help businesses to realise growth and development.
Our boundless opportunities also cover green investments. As you may have heard, in my recent Budget, I envision Hong Kong to be the leading international centre for greentech and green finance, where a complete, integrated and dynamic industry chain will rise and power the global quest for carbon neutrality. Leveraging our mature market of green finance, a burgeoning green technology sector, and our research and industrial synergies with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, this is set to be a booming sector where investments would be highly rewarding, and at the same time socially and environmentally impactful.
Hong Kong for life
Looking beyond wealth, assets and investments, we believe that Hong Kong is also the right place where you and your family office should go, for a number of good reasons.
As you are physically here, I invite to you to take some time to explore our wonderful city. No need to worry about personal safety as we are one of the safest cities in the world. Try some of our over 200 restaurants recommended by Michelin, or the wanton noodles stores that are open till late night. Or join us for the mega events like the Rugby Sevens to be held next week, or the dragon boat races, or the Wine and Dine Festival later this year.
And also see for yourselves our scenic country parks, which account for about 40 per cent of our territory, and the hills and the seas. Beyond Hong Kong, we are conveniently connected to the world, allowing you to reach many parts of Asia in just a couple of hours' flight.
Arts and culture hub
On arts and culture, Hong Kong is equally vibrant and promising. I am sure you are aware of Art Basel and Art Central now held in Hong Kong, which are premier contemporary art events.
Indeed, Hong Kong is one of the world's largest art markets, with some US$8.4 billion in artwork, collectors' pieces and antiques sold by auction in 2021.
This dynamic art scene is set to further grow by our commitment to develop Hong Kong as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange. Our new museums, like the Hong Kong Palace Museum and M+ here in the West Kowloon Cultural District, together with our world-class performing arts groups, are adding to the denser and dynamic artistic atmosphere of the city.
Hong Kong for philanthropy
What's more, we know that it is the vision and value of family offices to do good for the local community and the world, driving positive impact for generations to come.
For philanthropy, Hong Kong long has a proud history of private investment in welfare, and is home to some of Asia’s major philanthropists. We have a deep culture of giving, demonstrated by individuals' charitable donations reaching US$1 billion (a year). Nearly 10 000 charitable organisations are registered in Hong Kong.
With our strong financial connectivity, Hong Kong eyes developing ourselves as a philanthropic centre, helping family offices and philanthropists to use charitable capital to benefit those in need in Hong Kong, the Mainland and around the world.
A statement for family offices
Ladies and gentlemen, today, by welcoming you to Hong Kong, we are making a firm commitment to turning Hong Kong into a global family office centre.
This morning, we published a policy statement on developing the family office business in Hong Kong. We have set out a variety of measures, ranging from offering competitive tax concessions for family-owned investment vehicles, to introducing a new capital investment entrant scheme to facilitate asset owners to come, live and prosper in Hong Kong.
The statement truly represents the beginning of a journey for Hong Kong as we put family offices as a strategic priority. We are much devoted to creating a conducive and competitive environment for you to thrive in Hong Kong. Our dedicated team from Invest Hong Kong is here to serve you.
Ladies and gentlemen, I know I am standing between you and the fine lunch. Let me leave the talking to the very distinguished panelists of the luncheon and other speakers at the Summit who will share their valuable insights into Hong Kong's promising prospects for you and your family offices.
Last but not least, I wish you all a rewarding Summit and a most enjoyable experience in our city. I look forward to seeing you here for good.
Ends/Friday, March 24, 2023
Issued at HKT 18:12
Issued at HKT 18:12