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Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)

Norman Chan reappointed as Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 4:15am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 4:15am

Hong Kong's de facto central banker, Norman Chan Tak-lam, has been reappointed with an 8 per cent pay rise, in a move seen by bankers as a bid to sustain the city's financial stability.

Chan, 59, would serve a second five-year term as Monetary Authority chief executive after his current term ends in September, the government said yesterday.

His predecessor, Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, was in office for 16 years, making way for Chan in October 2009.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said he had "every confidence" Chan would be able to continue helping him develop the city as the world's largest offshore yuan centre.

Wilson Chan Fung-cheung, senior consultant to the Institute of Bankers, said Chan would help the banking sector further develop relationships with overseas markets and cash in on yuan reforms. "[Chan] has a good understanding of the mainland and many connections with industry, and both areas give him an edge."

The reappointment would bring continuity in a time of uncertainty, HSBC Asia-Pacific chief executive Peter Wong Tung-shun said. "We believe [Chan's] extensive experience in regulatory policy will help Hong Kong face the challenges of the next five years," Wong added.

Andrew Fung Hau-chung, executive director of Hang Seng Bank, said uncertainties existed because the US was unwinding its zero interest-rate policy. Chan had a track record in developing and regulating the market and was the "most appropriate person", Fung added.

Norman Chan said he was "privileged" to be able to continue maintaining the city's financial stability and promoting its position as an international financial centre.

Chan's annual salary will be HK$6.5 million, 8.3 per cent higher than his current HK$6 million.

He will also be entitled to an annual performance-linked variable payment, capped at HK$2.6 million, up from HK$1.5 million.

Finance-sector lawmaker Ng Leung-sing said he "respected" Chan's pay rise, saying an established mechanism was in place to decide the rate.

Chan's predecessor Yam was previously the world's highest paid central banker, receiving HK$11.9 million in 2008.