Hong Kong's economic success is built on a number of pillars: entrepreneurship, pursuit of free market policies, commitment of the rule of law, and a flexible and resilient business sector.
Another factor of equivalent significance is our adherence to, and upholding of, business ethics, which is critical to Hong Kong's position as an international financial centre.
Hong Kong is well-known for its clean government and its policy to maintain a level playing field. Businessmen know achieving the highest standard of professional ethics is a key to success in Hong Kong. However, some may worry that, in the current economic climate, people may become more tolerant of dishonesty and unethical behaviour in conducting business, a change that would do irreparable harm.
Dishonest business dealings create inefficiency, distort market mechanisms and undermine trust. It is therefore crucial that Hong Kong should strive to uphold our high standard of business ethics and raise the public awareness of the issue.
While the Government will, no doubt, continue to maintain regulatory enforcement to prevent corruption of ethical standards, it is even more important that the private sector exercises self-discipline to achieve the same.
I would like to offer my congratulations to the organisers of this conference for bringing together the securities, futures and investment sectors to discuss the issue of professional ethics in the context of competitiveness and social responsibility. I wish the conference every success.
TUNG CHEE-HWA Chief Executive