Hong Kong’s largest financial training organisation is working with authorities in Macau to establish an investment industry and a talent pool for a stock exchange in the former Portuguese colony. The Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute (HKSI) is responsible for licensing exams for brokers and asset managers in Hong Kong. Under an agreement signed with the Macau Institute of Financial Services, which is backed by the Macau Monetary Authority, it will train and hold the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s (SFC) licensing examination in Macau. “Hong Kong’s SFC introduced licensing requirements with the enactment of the Securities and Futures Ordinance in 2003. The Macau authorities consider it a good reference base, recognising and adopting the Hong Kong licensing exam as an entry requirement for investment professionals until they come up with their own regulations at a later stage,” Ruth Kung, HKSI’s CEO, said in an interview. “While Macau is traditionally strong in tourism and entertainment, it has a limited number of financial services practitioners, especially in the securities and futures businesses,” she added. Beijing announced a raft of policies in December 2019 aimed at diversifying Macau’s economy by building its financial services industry, while maintaining its position as a leading gaming and tourism centre . A core part of the measures announced was the establishment of a Nasdaq-like stock exchange to help start-ups and growth companies raise capital in the yuan. No launch date has been set for the exchange as yet. The cooperation is also a good example of the greater integration promised by Beijing’s Greater Bay Area development zone. The zone aims to promote talent and capital flows among China’s two special administrative regions and nine Guangdong province cities to create an economic powerhouse. It also highlights Hong Kong’s expertise and experience as an international financial centre. The city has been the world’s largest initial public offering market in seven of the last 12 years. China wants to establish a stock exchange in Macau, which will need to build up its financial industry talent, Kung said. “The training and licensing exam offered by HKSI can support and help nurture the talent needed for such development,” she added. HKSI held a first round of licensing exams in April and will hold another in October. The first round attracted 240 applicants from Macau, while the October exams have received 170 enrolments. “The number of enrolments is higher than expected, which shows Macau residents have a strong interest in entering the financial industry,” Kung said. “The institute will continue to provide the licensing exams in future, as well as more training in asset and wealth management, trustee services, ethics and compliance, together with other financial investment related matters, for Macau,” she added. Hong Kong’s financial professionals could contribute towards the establishment of the Macau exchange, said Jeffrey Chan Lap-tak, a founding partner of Oriental Patron Financial Group, a Hong Kong-based financial firm. “Hong Kong’s stock market has been operating for over a century. We have thousands of brokers, financial advisers, accountants and lawyers on fundraising and deal makers. As long as the Macau authorities will approve, Hong Kong can help establish the Macau stock exchange,” he said.