A look back at decade's good, bad and ugly
As this is the new decade's first White Collar, it is worth looking back at 'the good, the bad and the ugly' in our financial markets over the past decade and what we have to look forward to in the next 10 years.
Pensions: Although not everyone was happy with the introduction of the Mandatory Provident Fund, it at least introduced the first compulsory retirement scheme in the city's history. Before the scheme was introduced in 2000, only one in three employees was covered by any form of pension scheme. At present, 2.56 million employees are covered by the scheme, which hadaccumulated total assets of HK$218.86 billion at the end of September. Looking forward, the government has passed a law allowing employees to choose their own provider for their contributions, meaning more competition and lower fees.
Stock market: The Hang Seng Index stood at about 18,000 points in 2000. Stock investors have had a roller-coaster ride since then, with the market reaching a record high of 31,638.22 on October 30, 2007. That brought its total capitalisation to HK$23.07 trillion. The market rally was driven by the 'through-train investment' proposal that would have allowed mainland investors to invest in Hong Kong. When the plan was delayed and the financial crisis deepened a year later, the market slumped to 10,600, before bouncing back to its current level of about 22,000.
Looking ahead, the market is likely to continue to be bumpy. A key concern for the bourse is how to fend off competition from Shanghai and other major exchanges. Beijing has announced plans to transform Shanghai into an international financial centre by 2020. Shanghai may also launch an international board to allow giant firms such as HSBC Holdings to list there.
Growth Enterprise Market: The second board, set up in 1999 to attract new technology firms, was trading red hot during the dotcom boom of 2000. But it did not take long for the bubble to burst. The GEM now has about 170 listed companies, compared with a peak of about 220. There have been some spectacular collapses and more companies transferred to the main board. Will we still have a GEM 10 years later? We will have to wait and see.
Market reform: Despite so many market reforms being proposed over the past decade, there has been little progress. On the reform agenda have been the setting up of an independent insurance authority, the introduction of quarterly reporting for main board companies and a study of whether we should have a super-regulator to cover all financial institutions. There has also been a new round of consultation on the long-awaited corporate rescue law reform and the introduction of a scripless market.
Inside the business of risk
In this week's video report, we have invited Jack Dunn, the president and chief executive of FTI Consulting, and Steve Vickers, the president and chief executive of FTI-International Risk, as our guests.
In the programme, the two talk about their co-operation, business outlook and expansion plans in this region.