Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong: Day one

Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong: Day one

“Financial technology is the future and we are determined to make it ours” was the call from the head of Hong Kong on opening day of the city’s two-day Asian Finance Forum (AFF).

In its 16th year, the forum has returned as an in-person event in Hong Kong for the first time in two years following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Restrictions along the city’s shared border with mainland China were lifted on Sunday. This follows December’s easing of the region’s wider strict Covid policy.

The morning started with an opening address from John Lee, chief executive of Hong Kong, who highlighted the city’s efforts to strengthen its strength as an international financial center. He also outlined the importance of encouraging fintech players to test innovative ideas and concepts.

“More than 800 fintechs call Hong Kong home, up from 180 five years ago,” he said. “They offer a variety of services from commercial banking, asset management and insurance technology to robo-advisory blockchain, digital commerce, payments and cyber security.

“We are working closely with our financial regulators and government agencies to improve Hong Kong’s fintech infrastructure to provide an enabling regulatory framework that encourages financial innovation and natural talent.”

Hong Kong

The State of Fintech

Fintech was also the focus of a global discussion panel in the afternoon with leaders on BIS Innovation Hub, WeLab Bank, Two Sigma Asia Pacific, Standard Chartered Bank, Visa and Daiwa Institute of Research.

The panel discussed digital currencies, how to bring technology to financial services, the use of data science technology in the investment process and the importance for established banks to embrace fintech.

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When asked how ‘dinosaurs’ can adapt to the fintech world, Peter Burnettchief executive of Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong, said: “We are at a bit of an inflection point in the fintech world – or the dinosaur as you refer to them – world, where there is a lot of collaboration that combines the benefits of both.

“The external economic environment has forced this to some extent, and we can debate whether it’s the dinosaurs picking up the disruptors or whether it’s the disruptors figuring out a way to mate with the dinosaurs, but it doesn’t matter. What we are seeing now is coordination, collaboration and a greater adaptation between fintechs and established companies with the benefits of both coming together.”

Also at AFF 2023

There are 19 foreign delegations participating in this year’s forum with 32 exhibitors from 12 countries, revealed Patrick Laudeputy managing director i Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

The forum, held at Hong Kong Convention Centerwill also feature addresses from more than 100 global business leaders.

In Wednesday morning’s policy dialogue session, the panelists discussed the impact of Covid on the economy, while a main lunch served a speech from the former United Nations general secretary Ban Ki-moon.

He first discussed how the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can pave the way for a greener, healthier workforce post-Covid-19, before highlighting the importance of addressing the global impact of the climate crisis and the urgency of reaching net zero by 2050.

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