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ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement: Strengthening Economic Ties
Built on a long history of trade and economic co-operation, the newly-signed ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement and (investment agreement) promises to strengthen economic ties between Hong Kong and ASEAN member states. Hong Kong’s banking and finance sector will have unprecedented access to ASEAN member states and entire markets of potential new clients will become available. These agreements not only consolidate the role of Hong Kong as a super-connector to promote regional trade and investment linkages, but also gives Hong Kong the privileged position to further boost integrated economic development in the region, by providing valued legal and financial services.
Opportunities for Banking Sector as Mainland China’s Financial Market Opens up
The Governor of the People’s Bank of China, Mr Yi Gang, announced at the Boao Forum for Asia that Mainland China would implement twelve liberalisation measures in a bid to further open up its financial markets. Mainland China has been very affirmative and confident in doing this by lowering its financial market entry thresholds. These recent pledges to advance with the long-promised liberalisation of financial markets are opportunities that should be seized by banks.
Virtual banking in Hong Kong and Mainland China
On 30th May 2018, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) published its consultation conclusions on the revised Guideline on the Authorization of Virtual Banks, which set out the principles they will consider when authorising virtual banks to conduct business in Hong Kong. The announcement ties in with the HKMA’s goal of bringing the city into a new era of smart banking, as part of a package of initiatives that aim to establish Hong Kong as a ‘world- class smart city’. As one of the oldest banking centres in the world and Asia’s prospective ‘smart city’, Hong Kong stands well-positioned to be a pioneer in this field.
Setting the Industry Standards in Retail Wealth Management
As the banking and finance industry continues to undergo fast-paced and radical transformations it is more important than ever to ensure Hong Kong’s banking professionals are highly competent. Hong Kong must develop a skilled talent pool that is able to meet the changing demands of the banking and financial services sector. With this in mind, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and The Hong Kong institute of Bankers (HKIB) aim to set the industry standards through the Enhanced Competency Framework on Retail Wealth Management (ECF on RWM). The key objective of this programme is to promote and maintain the high standards of professional competence expected of retail wealth management professionals in Hong Kong.
The Impact of the General Data Protection Regulation in Hong Kong
Effective on 25th May 2018, the EU’s new privacy legislation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will impact many businesses in Hong Kong. One of the most important aspects of the GDPR means that any bank in operating in Hong Kong that processes EU data will be required to comply with the legislation or face the risk of heavy financial penalties. GDPR will affect the local banking sector in a number of ways and many organisations will need to reassess their data storage practices. This is especially relevant given the exponential rise in the use of FinTech and the large number of overseas banks that operate within the city.
Talk Around Town
Sharing Economy in Hong Kong
The sharing economy has gained huge popularity over the last few years and has seen services such as bike-sharing and ride-hailing become an integral part of everyday life in countries across the globe. Hong Kong, however, has been accused of ‘closing the door’ and failing to provide an adequate legislative environment for these typically innovative companies to thrive. There are a number of initiatives and improvements that could be made to embrace these companies in the city and truly unlock the potential of the sharing economy. By establishing a functional legislative framework and providing industry benchmarks to improve consumer trust, Hong Kong can be the leader in collaborative consumption in Asia.