10th Asian Financial Forum Opens in Hong Kong

Some 100 Global Financial Experts Explore the Theme of “Asia: Driving Change, Innovation and Connectivity”

HONG KONG — The 10th edition of the Asian Financial Forum (AFF), co-organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), opened yesterday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). The two-day forum marks the first in a series of events celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR. Under the theme “Asia: Driving Change, Innovation and Connectivity”, the AFF features some 100 financial and business leaders, policymakers, investors and high net-worth individuals from around the world to share insights into global economic trends as well as investment opportunities in Asia for the coming year.

Vincent HS Lo: Re-integration of international relations

CY Leung, Chief Executive, HKSAR, and Vincent HS Lo, Chairman, HKTDC, officiated the opening ceremony of the forum. In his welcoming remarks, Mr Lo said: “2016 was a tumultuous year, and we have learned to weather the storm and anticipate the unexpected. Coming to a new year, we can expect a re-integration of international allies and trade cooperation. We can also anticipate a change in economic, fiscal and trading policies that affect all aspects of our lives in the long term. The theme for this year’s AFF, ‘Asia: Driving Change, Innovation and Connectivity’, aims to investigate Asia’s role in the current economic and political environment.”

Senior finance officials analyse Asia’s role in a global economy

The opening Plenary Session of the AFF 2017 was chaired by Prof KC Chan, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the HKSAR and featured such high-level speakers as Mihaly Varga, Minister for National Economy of Hungary, Simon Kirby, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, United Kingdom, Mohammad Khazaee, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran and President of the Organisation for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran (OIETAI) and Kiatchai Sophastienphong, Vice Minister for Finance, Thailand. They discussed the driving forces behind change, innovation and connectivity in Asia and implications for sustainable global economic development.

In this morning’s Policy Dialogue, themed “Challenges for Central Banks and Financial Regulators in an Era of new Political and Economic Uncertainty”, Panel Chair Ashley Ian Alder, Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, along with Klaus Regling, Managing Director, European Stability Mechanism, Saeb Eigner, Chairman, Dubai Financial Services Authority, Andrea Enria, Chairperson, European Banking Authority, Mirza Adityaswara, Senior Deputy Governor, Bank Indonesia, Ksenia Yudaeva, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia, and Jeong Eun-bo, Vice Chairman of Financial Services Commission, Korea, examined challenges faced by policymakers and regulators. Topics included the implications of Brexit, policies of incoming US President Donald Trump, impact of a strong US dollar and how global financial stability can be sustained in an era of political and economic uncertainty.

Mohamed A. El-Erian dissects the global economic landscape

AFF Keynote Luncheons are renowned for inviting influential speakers, and this year is no exception. A packed audience at today’s luncheon heard from Dr Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz and Chair of US President Barack Obama’s Global Development Council. Dr El-Erian examined the current economic and political impact on global markets while analysing investment risks and opportunities for the year ahead. He also took part in a dialogue for more in-depth exchanges with AFF participants on a variety of topical issues.

Analysing prospects for ASEAN and China opportunities

In today’s AFF panel discussions, thought leaders representing some of the world’s most important multinationals, sovereign funds and financial institutions explored the prospects for ASEAN, China opportunities and the global economy. Speakers included Raymond L Conner, Vice Chairman, The Boeing Company, Ding Xuedong, Chairman & CEO, China Investment Corporation, Sung-Soo Eun, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Korea Investment Corporation, Lai Xiaomin, Chairman, China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd, Ning Gaoning, Chairman, Sinochem Group, Chairul Tanjung, Founder and Chairman, CT Corp, and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ayala Corporation.

Celebrating this special edition of the forum, the AFF 10th Edition Cocktail Reception takes place this evening. A highlight of the Reception will be a retrospective look at the financial industry through the eyes of previous AFF speakers who have attended the event over the past decade. The event also features cocktails and snacks especially crafted for the occasion as well as a music performance while a robot serves as the master of ceremonies.

Industry-specific panels

The AFF will continue with another full programme of events tomorrow. Sponsored by Hong Kong’s Financial Services Development Council, the Breakfast Panel will explore the theme “Positioning Hong Kong in the New World Order”. Speakers will share thoughts on how Hong Kong can capture opportunities related to the Belt and Road Initiative, green finance and Fintech. It will be followed by the Panel Discussion on Payment Technology and Cyber Security, co-organised with Cyberport. Speaking at the keynote luncheon tomorrow will be Dr Raghuram Rajan, Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago the Booth School and previously the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Known as a “rock star” bank governor, Dr Rajan will share how central banks around the world formulate monetary policy in response to different government strategies and their effect on emerging markets.

A series of thematic workshops are also organised to examine key topics including green finance, private wealth management and innovation in the insurance industry. The thematic workshop co-organised with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office (IFFO) and the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau of the HKSAR Government will invite speakers to discuss prospects and challenges for infrastructure financing in Asia as well as Hong Kong’s role.

Investment and networking opportunities abound at the AFF

The Global Investment Summit returns to AFF, following its successful launch last year. The keynote address by International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director Tao Zhang on the global investment outlook will be followed by panel sessions involving representatives from Asian Development Bank, China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund, investment banks and credit rating agencies. Under the spotlight will be opportunities and challenges in the ASEAN and Middle East markets.

The AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session, co-organised by the HKTDC and the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, will be held tomorrow. One-on-one meetings will be arranged to facilitate business cooperation for 160 investors and 400 project owners, private equity firms, investors, high net-worth individuals, intermediaries and professional services providers from more than 40 countries. Industry briefings, networking opportunities and project presentations focusing on food and agriculture, Fintech, cleantech & manufacturing technology and infrastructure investment will also be organised.

AFF participants can also explore worldwide investment opportunities and projects at the Global Investment Zone through 13 participating investment agencies from countries such as Germany, Iran, Israel, Poland, South Africa, the US and Vietnam. Meanwhile, representatives from financial institutions, accounting firms, as well as legal and commercial consultants will be on hand to provide free consultation services at the Financial and Professional Advisory Services Zone.

For the second year in a row, PwC is the official Knowledge Partner of AFF, presenting at the PwC knowledge cafe and satellite booth a variety of digital experiences including the Game of Threats(TM) interactive simulation, which gives participants the chance to experience a virtual cyber breach and learn how to respond to such an attack, the Finance Virtual Reality Experience, Google Home, and an interactive display that allows participants to see the disruptors in the business environment and how well they respond to disruption.

Promoting Hong Kong’s financial services

The AFF is the flagship event of the International Financial Week, a comprehensive programme of activities designed to facilitate greater exchange of ideas and business opportunities among global finance and business professionals. These events are aimed at showcasing Hong Kong’s competitive edge in financial services and they include such themes as cross-border market access, private equity and alternative investment.

Asian Financial Forum Website: http://www.asianfinancialforum.com
International Financial Week Website: http://www.internationalfinancialweek.com
* The programme is subject to change. Please visit the forum website for details.