- “I hope that this week will really mark the beginning of our path to normality from now on… we'll be back next year same time. I'll see you next year. Thank you very much.” As I expressed my heartfelt thanks in closing, the three-day Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit concluded successfully last Thursday (3 November) amid a warm round of applause of over 200 participants.
- Besides the Summit, the Hong Kong FinTech Week and the Hong Kong Sevens also took place in a rather eventful week for Hong Kong. For a first-timer, the Summit was a success despite the first No. 8 typhoon signal in November in fifty years. This was only possible with the support from all parties involved. In the end, over 200 leaders from around 120 global financial institutions attended the event, with more than 40 institutions represented by their group chairmen or CEOs. It has been a while since we have seen an event of such scale.
- Perhaps some would wonder why just having some financial heavyweights speak on stage would help strengthen Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre. On this, allow me to share some of the feedback I got from various participants of the Summit in the past few days.
- As mentioned above, those who attended the Summit are leading figures in the financial sector. It was almost a “mission impossible” to get them all to attend the same event in Hong Kong. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we seldom saw events of such a grand scale in any financial centres. The great turnout of the Summit proves once again our unique status and significance to the global financial system. As chiefs of their institutions, these financial leaders did not come all the way to Hong Kong just for show. Their presence is testament to the high importance they attach to the Hong Kong and Mainland markets, and shows that they are planning their business development here as Hong Kong resumes normalcy.
- In addition to attending the three-day Summit, these prominent financial leaders made good use of their stay in Hong Kong to meet their Hong Kong-based clients, business partners and local staff. Their schedules were packed with hundreds of side meetings and events. These face-to-face interactions helped strengthen existing networks, foster new relationships and the added human touch also helped boost the morale of their staff based in Hong Kong. A CEO of a global financial institution told me that when he visited his trading floor colleagues in Hong Kong for the first time in three years, he was received by a round of applause and found it unexpectedly touching.
- It has been more than three years since many of the Summit participants visited Hong Kong. They can see for themselves how Hong Kong is actually faring, instead of just relying on what they hear from others. They can experience first-hand that Hong Kong is the same vibrant community and see cheerful people of all nationalities in restaurants, shopping malls and jogging trails. Perhaps the biggest difference that some might notice would be the Victoria Harbour front, which has become more connected and mesmerising.
- On the first day of the Summit, we arranged a tour and dinner for participants at the M+ Museum, the new landmark of Victoria Harbour. We have also invited the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Hong Kong to perform some classic Hong Kong tunes for us, including “Passage of Time” (《似水流年》), “Our Steadfast Spirit” (《男兒當自強》), “Char Siu Bao” (《叉燒包》), “Pearl of the Orient” (《東方之珠》) and “Under the Lion Rock” (《獅子山下》). The combination of Chinese tunes and western classical instruments was a pleasure to the ears, and also encompassed the essence of Hong Kong’s uniqueness as an intersection of Eastern and Western cultures. As participants immersed themselves in the tune of “Under the Lion Rock”, a bond was formed over not just the prospects of Hong Kong’s economy, but also our love for the city itself.
- Among the financial leaders attending the Summit, quite a few have started their careers right here in Hong Kong and flourished alongside our financial industry. Even though they are no longer in Hong Kong, they still maintain deep ties with the city. These global connections are where Hong Kong’s soft power lies. Similarly, we hope that those who have been transferred out of Hong Kong in recent years will continue to be our friends and ambassadors.
- The three-day Summit had ended but the momentum did not stop. The Hong Kong Sevens picked up from the Summit and brought together fans from all around the world to the Hong Kong Stadium, telling the world that “Hong Kong is back”. In fact, many participants expressed the hope that the Summit would mark the beginning of the path to normalcy and Hong Kong would emerge fully from the shadow of the pandemic soon. Many financial leaders shared that the Summit had reinforced their confidence in rooting for Hong Kong as the location for their groups’ upcoming board meetings. Some will also be inviting group senior management or key overseas clients and investors to Hong Kong. Some have even begun the preparatory work for resuming large-scale international conferences in Hong Kong next year. These are all very encouraging news.
- Finally, I would like to once again express my deep gratitude to all of the Summit participants, as well as the various parties involved in organising the event, including M+ Museum, government bureaux and departments, HKEX and HKMA colleagues. The success of the Summit is due in no small part to our colleagues and partners, who truly demonstrated Hong Kong’s can-do spirit in carrying out their tasks with dedication and professionalism despite the typhoon. As a memento to participants, we have prepared a short video of highlights from the Summit. We encourage them to share this video with others, so that more people would know “Hong Kong is back”!
- Come rain or shine, see you again at the Summit next year!
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
10 November 2022