Speech by FS at Hong Kong Monetary Authority 30th Anniversary Reception (English only) (with photos)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) 30th Anniversary Reception today (March 31):
Eddie (Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Eddie Yue), Donald (former Chief Executive Mr Donald Tsang), Antony (former Financial Secretary Mr Antony Leung), Henry (former Chief Secretary for Administration Mr Henry Tang), John (former Financial Secretary Mr John Tsang), Joseph (former Chief Executive of the HKMA Mr Joseph Yam), Norman (former Chief Executive of the HKMA Mr Norman Chan), HKMA colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It's really a great pleasure to join you here today in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. This is a truly remarkable occasion for reunion, to celebrate the achievements we have made, and to look to a future we will embrace together.  
     Hong Kong has weathered a lot over the past three decades: the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the global financial crisis in 2008, the European debt crisis in 2009-10, as well as black-clad violence and COVID-19 in recent years. All came with daunting challenges. But through these and many other trying times, Hong Kong's financial system has proven to be eminently safe and sound. And we have grown stronger and more resilient. Because we learnt from experience and improved. Not only by looking at ourselves but also critically why others failed or prevailed.
     It is no coincidence that despite the recent turbulence on banks in the United States and Europe, Hong Kong's financial and banking system has remained enviably sure. 
     There is something we all hold dear to our heart. No matter how circumstances change, financial stability and security remain our top priority. It is the cornerstone of our social stability and economic success. 
     Hong Kong not only keeps pace with international standards and best practices; we go beyond them, build strong buffers, and stay highly vigilant against risks that may threaten our financial stability.
     I am glad and grateful that the HKMA has been rendering the best support to the Government in ensuring the stability and integrity of our financial system and its banking sector.
     Ladies and gentlemen, over the past three decades, Hong Kong's financial services have benefited from the rapid growth of our country, as well as the staunch support and favourable policies of the Central Government. In this connection, the astute and tireless efforts of the HKMA, contributing to Hong Kong's standing as one of the world's leading international financial centres, is to be complimented. Indeed, our banking sector's total assets have more than quadrupled, rising from some HK$6 trillion in 1993 to more than HK$27 trillion today. Customer deposits have increased by eight-fold, from HK$1.7 trillion to more than HK$15 trillion today.
     As the banking regulator, the HKMA applies prudent regulation to ensure the smooth operation of the market. It has maintained strong collaboration with local, Mainland and international regulators to ensure that evolving risks under a fast-paced and highly internationalised market environment are properly addressed.   
     At the same time, the HKMA has been proactive in facilitating market innovation. That includes, for example, introducing licences for virtual banks, implementing fintech regulatory sandboxes, and issuing the first ever government tokenised green bond.
     Looking to the future, the financial world will keep changing, and innovation will keep driving new modes of finance. Web3, and the use of blockchain technology, will become a major force of transition in some years to come. 
     Besides, the community is hoping that through innovation, banking and other financial services will get closer to businesses and people, become more accessible and inclusive, better address their "pain points", and help them benefit and prosper together.
     Our continued success will depend on how well we embrace changes and share aspirations of the people and community. That requires the Government and the regulators to take a more visionary, forthcoming and developmental role; to engage businesses and the community, and make judicious response to their needs.  
     I have every confidence that the HKMA will continue to chart its path ahead with assurance, excellence and innovation, and continue to help the Hong Kong economy flourish through the endlessly promising years to come.
     Ladies and gentlemen, I am grateful to the HKMA, to each and every one of you, for the remarkable contributions you have made, and will make, to Hong Kong and to our financial system.
     I know you will enjoy this very special evening.
     Thank you.

Ends/Friday, March 31, 2023
Issued at HKT 19:58