Beijing’s favourable financial initiatives for Hong Kong are part of the nation’s reform and opening up policy, and are unlikely to stop even if the Legislative Council votes down the government’s electoral reform package, the city’s Monetary Authority chief said in Toronto on Monday. Norman Chan Tak-lam also emphasised that Hong Kong’s future growth depends on its own competitiveness, as he dismissed suggestions the city will gradually lose its shine in the next decade should the reform fail. All 27 pan-democrat lawmakers have vowed to vote down the government’s reform package next week, after Beijing ruled that Hong Kong can only choose from two or three candidates endorsed by a 1,200-strong nominating committee when it elects its chief executive by “one man, one vote” in 2017. Pan-democrats said the proposal deprives voters of a “genuine” choice. Former financial services minister Frederick Ma Si-hang had warned that it could be “game over” for the city within 10 to 20 years if wrangling over political reform persists, but speaking on the sidelines of a symposium organised by the Trade Development Council in Toronto, Chan said he doesn’t see things that way. “It all depends on your competitiveness and whether there is social unrest. Last year, during the 79 days [of Occupy protests], the banking system in Hong Kong remained robust and normal,” Chan said. But he added that if the Occupy civil disobedience movement were not handled “as soon as possible”, it could have caused investors to doubt whether Hongkongers treasure the rule of law. There aren’t many things that are exclusive in Hong Kong, but our development outlook is still good … because there are structural advantages that won’t be gone as long as we make the effort Norman Chan In the past year, Beijing launched several measures to boost Hong Kong’s financial market. In November, the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect was implemented to allow mainland investors to buy Hong Kong shares, and vice versa. The newest initiative is the mutual fund recognition scheme signed last month, which will allow cross-border fund sales with a 600 billion yuan (HK$758 billion) quota from July 1. Chan expected Beijing to continue to roll out more initiatives of this kind because China’s “reform and opening up [policy] will continue … regardless of changes in Hong Kong.” In recent years, Hong Kong has been the first mover for many of the mainland’s market reforms. But the city also loses the exclusive status once Beijing expands the experiment to other markets. Last month, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung told the South China Morning Post the administration requested that Beijing allow the city to enjoy for a while its status as the only financial centre with mutual recognition of cross-border funds with the mainland. But Chan said on Monday that it was again, Hong Kong’s competitiveness as an international “trading hub” that counts. “We don’t need to pay too much attention on it being exclusive,” he said. “There aren’t many things that are exclusive in Hong Kong, but our development outlook is still good … because there are structural advantages that won’t be gone as long as we make the effort,” he said. Chan revealed that many bankers told him “they are hoping to expand their businesses in Hong Kong.” But he declined to say whether he talked to HSBC Holdings’ chief executive Stuart Gulliver on the bank’s possible relocation from Britain. He only reiterated the Monetary Authority’s statement that it welcomed the possibility of bringing back the bank, which was founded in the city 150 years ago.