Financial services body vows to be industry voice

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 5:15am

The controversial Financial Services Development Council has promised to provide a direct industry voice to the Hong Kong government to ensure that the city can capture new business opportunities and strengthen its links with the mainland.

The 22-member council, a semi-official organisation initiated by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, aims to promote the city's financial sector around the world, but its establishment has drawn criticism that its functions either overlap with or are carried out by other promotional bodies.

Laura Cha Shih May-lung, chairwoman of the council, said in Beijing yesterday: "As a not-for-profit organisation for the financial services sector, the Financial Services Development Council serves as a government consultation body, which offers opinions on the topics of policies, opportunities in China, emerging business, marketing and promotion, as well as talent exploitation."

Cha, an Executive Council member and a former vice-chairwoman of the Securities and Futures Commission, stressed that the council will gather suggestions from industry executives, and each of its five sub-committees should shortlist some feasible ideas for her review.

She said that the council would focus on how to develop the financial industry in Hong Kong to be a "global significant financial centre".

Cha said the city's financial sector should develop other yuan products to cater for demand on the back of the internationalisation of the currency.

She said the Financial Services Development Council had no execution and regulatory authority, but it would maintain a high level of transparency and provide annual financial reports to the Legislative Council.

Cha rejected speculation that the council would be run along the lines of Temasek, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund.