THE Government is working closely with the banking community to develop one of the most modern real-time gross settlement systems in the world by next year, says Financial Secretary Sir Hamish Macleod.
At the inauguration dinner of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers last night, he said the technological platform of the supporting infrastructure was efficient and robust.
The new body is formed out of the old Chartered Institute of Bankers which used to operate as an overseas centre of the institute in London.
From this month the institute becomes an independent body.
Hong Kong had possibly the largest representation of international banks in the world, including more than 80 of the top 100, Sir Hamish said: 'The external assets of the banking sector are the fifth largest in the world.
'Our forex turnover is the sixth largest. We have the largest market capitalisation in the Asian stock markets outside Japan.' Hong Kong's economic growth, averaged more than seven per cent a year in real terms for the past 30 years, and had resulted in the territory's GDP per capita exceeding that of Britain, Canada and Australia, Sir Hamish said.
Hong Kong, he said, had done well by developing the five basic foundations of a financial market which were policy, products, prudent framework, platform and people.
Sir Hamish said Hong Kong had a pro-business policy environment and was recently rated by the US Heritage Foundation as the most free economy in the world.
'Our framework provides transparent and impartial rules in line with international standards but without stifling private sector initiatives and competition,' he said.