Global Impact: ‘Hong Kong is back’: global financiers herald city’s return
- Global Impact is a fortnightly curated newsletter featuring a news topic originating in China with a significant macro impact for our newsreaders around the world
- In this edition, we look back at the highlights from the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit and ponder what it means for Hong Kong’s future as a global financial hub.
The event, led by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), kicked off informally on Tuesday with a closed-door meeting between some invited bankers and the city’s financial officials at the office of the de facto central bank.
Bankers and financiers seen arriving for the meeting included HSBC CEO Noel Quinn, Standard Chartered group CEO Bill Winters, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, Morgan Stanley chairman James Gorman, UBS Group chairman Colm Kelleher, Bank of China president Liu Jin, BlackRock president Rob Kapito, Credit Suisse chairman Axel Lehmann, JPMorgan Asia-Pacific CEO Filippo Gori, Pimco CEO Emmanuel Roman, and Carlyle Group co-founder and co-chairman William E. Conway Jr.
Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun led the Hong Kong officials at the meeting, joined by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui Ching-yu, Securities and Futures Commission chief executive Ashley Alder, and Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX).
Every speaker at the conference, from Hong Kong’s chief executive to the foreign bankers speaking on panels, spoke without a mask on.
Global inflation, geopolitical tensions, climate change, lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on economies, talent and markets were the major concerns looming on the horizon for Hong Kong, other emerging economies and mainland China, attendees said.
Singapore was on the tip of many attendees’ tongues, as several global banks grappled with an exodus of staff who were fed up with Hong Kong’s previous Covid-19 restrictions. The solution in the post-Covid era was co-location, where senior positions in both Hong Kong and Singapore could serve different purposes, said the Swiss bank Julius Baer.
“Hong Kong has always been the centre of gravity for North Asia, with its proximity to China and the Greater Bay Area,” said Philipp Rickenbacher, CEO of the Zurich-based private bank, adding that the two cities are both hubs for expanding in Asia.
Several bankers also backed out. Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser and Blackstone president Jon Gray caught Covid-19 and had to stay away, while Barclays CEO C.S. Venkatakrishnan, Capital Group CEO Timothy Armour and Amundi’s Valerie Baudson pulled out for scheduling conflicts and other reasons.
The HKMA may organise the summit again in 2023 to mark its 30th anniversary, said Yue. Most participants this year said they would not think twice about returning.
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Global Impact is a fortnightly curated newsletter featuring a news topic originating in China with a significant macro impact for our newsreaders around the world.