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Hong Kong seeks to revive global banking status with major summit -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A view of Two International Finance Centres (IFC), HSBC Headquarters and Bank of China, Hong Kong, China on July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photograph

By Scott Murdoch

HONG KONG (Reuters – Hong Kong’s central banks plans to host a large conference in November. The event will be attended by global bank leaders, according to sources. This is as Hong Kong seeks to reopen international trade after two hard years of closing borders.

The meeting will mark the first trip to Hong Kong by most top bank executives in the last three years.

For most of non-residents, China-controlled territories closed their borders early 2020 to help with coronavirus. They also have some of the strictest global restrictions that have severely restricted the flow of business and tourist arrivals.

Hong Kong requires visitors to the city to be quarantined for seven days at hotels. They also have to undergo mandatory testing upon arrival.

Combining these rules with temporary measures that this year separated families and placed children in quarantine facilities caused an exodus from the city of expatriate employees, particularly in financial services.

Sources say that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is working closely with Hong Kong-based foreign investment banks to organize the event. It is expected to take place alongside the prestigious Rugby 7s Tournament.

The Rugby 7s, which have been delayed a few times since the outbreak of the pandemic, will now be running from Nov. 4 through 6.

The mandatory seven-day quarantine period in hotels would have to be removed for the HKMA conference to attract international bankers.

The two-year-old ban on non-residents was lifted this month. However, their entry remains restricted to seven days in hotel quarantine.

Sources said that while exemptions permit top financial executives to travel to Hong Kong for meetings, few people have used the program because they must be filed with regulators.

Hong Kong officials have so far not made any public statements about their intention to lift quarantine restrictions before November.

A spokesperson from the HKMA said that the authority is currently working on a summit for high-level investors and would share more details with Reuters.

The spokesperson stated that the HKMA had been in regular contact with government officials to exchange with them observations and suggestions regarding Hong Kong’s antiepidemic actions.

“We will defer to relevant government authorities in border control matters.”

Carrie Lam, the outgoing chief executive of Hong Kong, said that this week’s quarantine rules would not be changed before her term expires on June 30. John Lee (who assumes the CEO role on July 1) has expressed his desire for Hong Kong as a global financial centre.