Norman Chan Reviews His Time at the HKMA: Foreword


20 Aug 2019

Norman Chan Reviews His Time at the HKMA: Foreword

It was in May 1991 when I reported duty to the Office of the Exchange Fund at Admiralty Centre. That was where my journey of central banking started. Up to the end of this September, apart from two years in the Office of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, I have devoted about two-thirds of my professional life to finance. I have had the pleasure of participating in the establishment of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the great honour to serve as its Chief Executive for the past decade.

I have by far written altogether about 70 inSight articles, covering a wide range of HKMA’s work. I actually drafted most of these articles on long-haul flights during duty trips, and then my colleagues would help verify figures and details. By estimate, I have written a total of around 150,000 words (in Chinese) and, on average, over 2,000 words per article.

Every time colleagues invited for the “preview” would “friendly” remind me, with worried look on their face, that not many people nowadays still have the interest or time to read through such long articles. Though I am not someone who refuses to change, I do have my principles when it comes to writing about finance, since it is indeed a very technical and complicated subject. We need to spell out the cause and effect as well as the reasoning in order to get our message across. This is, in my view, the proper attitude towards writing – to always pursue the truth and facts. As time goes by, these long articles have become one of my signatures. That said, we also contribute shorter articles on more general topics in other platforms as appropriate. They serve different needs, and those who are interested to learn more about the subject may find my articles helpful.

My checklist grows ever longer as the day of my departure draws near. I once thought I should not squeeze another inSight article to the list, given that I have already covered quite a wide range of topics. But when I look back, there were a few events that are worth some more words. Though there is no lack of archives, they could hardly be as telling and compelling as my first person account.

I have selected a few events that spanned over two decades. While I still vividly recall the details, after finishing the drafts, I have also asked my colleagues to help fact check. Despite our best efforts to ensure accuracy, there may still be some omissions and slips with the passage of time, which I bear sole responsibility for. One more thing to note is that some names and details may be omitted due to confidentiality or privacy considerations, but rest assured, they should not affect your reading.

Again, a friendly reminder: long articles ahead.


Norman Chan
Chief Executive
Hong Kong Monetary Authority

20 August 2019

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Last revision date : 20 August 2019