More than 170 global business leaders and policymakers explore a sustainable future for world’s economy
Organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the 15th Asian Financial Forum (AFF) opened today as an online-only event. AFF 2022 is a highlight event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the HKSAR. The two-day forum features 60 sessions including keynote speeches and in-depth discussions along with an array of activities such as exhibitions and the AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session. All activities at AFF 2022 will be streamed live on the event’s virtual platform.
Under the theme “Navigating the Next Normal towards a Sustainable Future”, more than 170 global business leaders, policymakers, financial and wealth management experts, entrepreneurs, tech giants and economists from 16 countries and regions speak at the AFF, and examine the key issues reshaping the economic landscape, including how industries can realise sustainable and inclusive development through impactful venture capital and business strategies.
Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR, officiated at the forum’s opening ceremony. In her opening remarks she noted that: “With ‘One Country, Two Systems’ back on the right track, international investors and observers have shown confidence in Hong Kong. The latest Global Financial Centres Index, in September last year, ranked Hong Kong third globally among the more than 100 financial centres assessed, behind only New York and London. Looking ahead, beyond the pandemic and the continuing cloud it raises over global economic growth, particularly associated with the Omicron variant, we see boundless possibilities.”
In his welcome remarks, Dr Peter K N Lam, Chairman of the HKTDC, said: “This year is especially meaningful because the AFF is also the first of many events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. While we are still tackling the pandemic, we are also looking beyond the pandemic to recovery, which is the main direction of the AFF theme this year. We have brought together policymakers and business leaders from around the world to discuss important global issues from an Asian perspective. This year, our event will again be held virtually, and I hope we can reach more people from around the world to share ideas and inspire each other.”
Three heavyweight financial ministers from Mainland China delivered special remarks during the opening session. They included Dr Shang Fulin, Director of the CPPCC Economic Affairs Committee, Former Chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, and Former Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission; Dr Fang Xinghai, Vice Chairman, China Securities Regulatory Commission; and Xiao Yuanqi, Vice Chairman, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.
Dr Shang noted: “Global openness requires cooperation, and a rules-based multilateral trading system is the cornerstone of economic globalisation and free trade. The international community must double-down on consensus-building and actions. We must also stand firm on maintaining openness, inclusiveness, dialogue and collaboration to jointly address global issues and challenges. This will enable us to promote stronger and greener global development and champion a community with a shared future.”
Mark Carney and Jean-Claude Trichet deliver keynote speeches on first day
Mark Carney, United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, delivered a keynote address on the first day of AFF 2022. He shared his insights on how to build a sustainable financial system as a way of mitigating the liability and transitional threats posed by climate change. “From a general perspective, the risks of future pandemics have gone up because of climate change. And what is disappointing is that we have known of these risks of pandemics for a long period of time. The upfront investment against them in terms of healthcare capacity, testing, et cetera, is extremely modest relative to the cost, and we still haven’t made those investments on the scale that we need. We have to take this seriously. It is compounded by climate change,” Mr Carney said.
Another distinguished speaker was Jean-Claude Trichet, Former President of the European Central Bank. He noted that the financial industry, regulators and policymakers should step up their concerted efforts in times of uncertainty.
Global financial policymakers and experts discuss green finance and sustainable growth
A plenary session chaired by Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the HKSAR, was held following the opening session. Mr Hui joined together with an international panel of financial ministers, bank governors and policymakers to examine the characteristics of the post-COVID global economic new normal and discuss how the public and private sectors can collaborate to orient the global economy towards a green future with sustainable growth. The panellists included Vincent Van Peteghem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Belgium; Mihaly Varga, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hungary; Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of Finance, Thailand; Wimboh Santoso, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Financial Services Authority, Indonesia; Verena Ross, Chair, European Securities and Markets Authority; Jin Liqun, President and Chair, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser, President, Islamic Development Bank; and Marcos Troyjo, President, New Development Bank.
At a policy dialogue in the afternoon, Eddie Yue, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Monetary Authority, chaired a panel featuring Ashley Alder, Chief Executive Officer, Securities and Futures Commission; Benjamin E. Diokno, Central Bank Governor, Philippines; Klaas Knot, Chair, Financial Stability Board and President, De Nederlandsche Bank; Teresa Ko, Co-vice chair, IFRS Foundation; and Dr Ma Jun, Co-Chair of G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group, Co-Chair of IPSF Taxonomy Working Group; Chairman and President of Hong Kong Green Finance Association. The panel exchanged views on how the financial system can better support a sustainable global recovery while keeping climate-related financial risks at bay.
Echoing the theme of AFF 2022, a panel discussion on “ESG & Sustainability” was also staged. Stewart James, Chief of Staff, Sustainability Policy & Regulation, HSBC, spoke with panellists including Andrew Erickson, Chief Productivity Officer, Head of International Business, State Street; Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, CEO, Sintesa Group; Amy Lo, Co-Head Wealth Management Asia Pacific, UBS Global Wealth Management; and Saker Nusseibeh, CEO, Federated Hermes International. The speakers shared their perspectives on how governments around the world, industry giants, financial institutions and philanthropists can work together towards the wider implementation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) to build a sustainable future.
Financial and business leaders examine global economic outlook
Other esteemed financial ministers and business leaders who spoke at AFF 2022 included Ju Weimin, Vice Chairman, President & CIO, China Investment Corporation, a sovereign wealth fund; Paul M Achleitner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG; Tony O Elumelu, Group Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation; Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered plc; Tian Guoli, Chairman, Executive Director, China Construction Bank Corporation; Liu Jin, President, Bank of China Limited; Shriti Vadera, Group Chair, Prudential plc; and Douglas Flint, Chairman, abrdn plc.
AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session and fintech exhibition held online
From 10 to 12 January, the AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session is arranging a series of one -on-one matchmaking meetings on the virtual AFF platform to facilitate collaboration between project owners, potential business partners and investors. More than 600 investment projects, including over 200 ESG-related projects, are being showcased, covering sectors such as deep tech, digital technology and media, healthtech, education, infrastructure and real estate services.
Online exhibitions are also being held during AFF 2022. At the Fintech Showcase, InnoVenture Salon, FintechHK Startup Salon and Global Investment Zone, more than 130 local and international financial institutions, tech companies, start-ups and investment agencies are showcasing an array of advanced technologies and unmissable investment opportunities in various countries and regions. Meanwhile, the HKTDC, Mizuho Bank and Eureka Nova, a start-up incubation and open innovation platform established by New World Development, come together for the first time for AFF Accelerate. It provides a platform for entrepreneurs and innovators to bring their next-generation technology solutions from concept to fruition and adoption in the business sector.
Cryptonaire and eminent philanthropist speak on second day
Tomorrow morning will see another keynote speaker Brett King, Founder and Executive Chairman of Moven, sharing perspectives on how the emergence of new fintech developments presents both opportunities and challenges for the banking and financial industries. Sam Bankman-Fried, Founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.com and the richest person in crypto, who is also a Forbes 30 Under 30 honouree, will talk about his entrepreneurial journey and the outlook for blockchain and cryptocurrency. In addition, philanthropist Michael Milken, widely known as one of the most influential thinkers in US finance, will share some of the positive changes that his philanthropic work has created for communities, while Miao Jianmin, Chairman, China Merchants Group, will share his views on Mainland China’s carbon neutrality goals and green finance development.
Other highlight sessions tomorrow include “Decentralised Future – Accelerating Blockchain Innovation for Digital Assets & Transaction” and “Innovation Investment in NFT – Trends and Opportunities”, which will feature speakers such as Jason Bailey, Co-Founder & CEO, ClubNFT, and Francis Belin, President, Asia Pacific at Christie’s.
At the Family Office Symposium, co-organised by the HKTDC and the Private Wealth Management Association, Ronnie Chan, Chair, Hang Lung Properties; Adrian Cheng, Chief Executive Officer, New World Development; and Seri Cheah Cheng Hye, Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Value Partners Group, will explore wealth management trends relating to family offices and discuss their development among Asian families.
Furthermore, a series of thematic workshops, “Dialogues for Tomorrow” and fireside chats will examine the future of such sectors as energy, food and agriculture, digital wealth management, cloud computing, paytech and healthcare. The speakers will also explore opportunities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, venture capital trends and the net zero economy.
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The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via research reports and digital news channels. For more information, please visit: www.hktdc.com/aboutus. Follow us on Twitter @hktdc and LinkedIn