This photo shows a general view of residential buildings in West Kowloon District, Hong Kong on April 11, 2023. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong is recalibrating its wealth management game plan to boost financial connectivity and embrace emerging technology, giving asset managers a shot in the arm after a tectonic shift in the global investing landscape.
“So far this year, the market is still fraught with uncertainty, but it’s showing good value at the same time. So there’s a need to refocus strategies to balance defense and offense,” Julia Leung Fung-yee, CEO of the Securities and Futures Commission, said at the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association conference on Monday.
Citing blockchain and AI chatbox as examples, Chan said the former can revolutionize cross-border transactions by making the deal faster and more secure, while the latter could significantly improve customer service efficiency by reducing response time
In her opening speech, Leung introduced the regulator’s new “four-pronged strategy” for the wealth management industry — onshoring investment funds, building more conduits to enhance the sales footprint, diversifying investment product offerings, and embracing technology to increase financial services returns.
One of the much-awaited measures is the upcoming launch of the renminbi-Hong Kong dollar dual counter model for stock trading on June 19. Leung said that more than 20 “leading companies” will participate, and account for 40 percent of daily stock market turnover.
When it comes to the hot topic of artificial intelligence technology, which many believe will revolutionize the entire financial realm, Leung said the SFC is “open to the idea of fund organization going forward”.
“As a regulator, the SFC is guided by our philosophy to promote the responsible deployment of technology that enhances market efficacy and transparency, cost savings, and investor experience,” she said.
But firms should stay alert to related risks and thoroughly test AI applications before deployment, she added.
The remark was echoed by Stephen Chan, acting chairperson of the Hong Kong Association of Banks, who said the innovation of technology in the banking industry “has proved to be beneficial to all.”
Citing blockchain and AI chatbox as examples, Chan said the former can revolutionize cross-border transactions by making the deal faster and more secure, while the latter could significantly improve customer service efficiency by reducing response time.
“For future banking, we foresee the future of banking will be characterized by increasing personalization with the empowerment of AI and big data,” he said.
The Hong Kong Investment Funds Association Annual Conference this year was held under the theme “Re”, which turned the event into a collective effort. Participants are invited to provide words that start with “Re” to indicate their thoughts and suggestions regarding how to enable Hong Kong fund and asset management industry to rise to the next level and scale new heights.
As shown through the word cloud at the gathering, “reconnect”, “rejuvenate” and “recharge” are among the words used the most by attendees.
Speaking at a panel discussion, Amy Lo, chairman of the Executive Committee at the Private Wealth Management Association, said wealth managers are salivating over the rising opportunities in Hong Kong’s closing ties with the Chinese mainland, especially in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
With a population of 87 million, the Greater Bay Area's economic output topped 13 trillion yuan ($1.84 trillion) in 2022 — 2.8 trillion yuan more than that in 2017 — data from Guangdong province’s Development and Reform Commission show.
Lo cited a report by consulting firm Bain & Co that said a great majority of retail customers in the 11-city cluster have not experienced any of the cross-border financial products, but are expected to do so in the next three to five years.
Orchis Li, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers, shared described the Greater Bay Area as a “big opportunity” for the industry but also called for more measures to overcome cross-border issues in compliance, legal system and data exchange.
“We can work together to grow the pie. And I think it can be a win-win because there are a lot of things that we can learn from each other,” she said.
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HONG KONG NEWS