The Hong Kong Government will establish the Academy of Finance in mid-2019 to promote financial leadership development, according to Financial Secretary Paul Chan in his Budget address for the 2019-2020 fiscal year on 27 February.

He said, “In last year’s Budget, I announced the establishment of the Academy of Finance, which will serve to pool the strengths of tertiary institutions, the financial services sector, professional training bodies and regulators so as to attain two major goals, namely nurturing financial leadership and encouraging applied research in cross-sectoral areas.

The HKMA is taking the plan forward in full swing, with a view to establishing the Academy in mid-2019.”

On the insurance industry, Mr Chan said that the sector is well-developed and is an integral part of Hong Kong’s diversified financial businesses.

He said, “We are committed to promoting Hong Kong’s role as an international risk management centre and helping the industry seize the business opportunities brought by the Greater Bay Area development and the Belt and Road Initiative.”

He reiterated, what had previously been said, that businesses such as captive insurance, reinsurance and marine insurance have considerable development potential in Hong Kong. To promote their development, the government has introduced relevant taxation and regulatory measures.

For example, last year, legislation was enacted to extend the 50% tax concession for captive insurance companies’ businesses to cover both offshore and onshore risks, with a view to drawing more enterprises to set up captive insurance companies in Hong Kong.

Mr Chan said that the government will propose legislative amendments to provide tax concessions for marine insurance and the underwriting of speciality risks, and allow for the formation of special purpose vehicle companies specifically for issuing insurance-linked securities. “We will continue to look into measures that are conducive to the development of the industry,” he added.

He pointed out that the Insurance Authority approved the first authorisation of online insurers last December, marking a new chapter for insurance technology development in Hong Kong.

Financial Services

Mr Chan also outlined other initiatives for the financial services sector that the government would undertake. These included:

  • Issue the first batch of government green bonds to promote the development of green finance
  • Consider establishing a limited partnership regime and introducing tax arrangement to attract private equity funds to set up and operate in Hong Kong
  • Promote mutual recognition of funds with other jurisdictions to broaden the distribution network of local fund products.

Regional & International Horizons

Mr Chan also emphasised the need to further strengthen Hong Kong’s role as a bridge linking mainland China with the international market. He said, “We should not only seize the opportunities brought by the Greater Bay Area development and the Belt and Road Initiative, but should also eye the world, particularly the Asian regions with potential for development.

Moreover, we have to enhance the resilience of our financial system, further improve our regulatory regime to strengthen financial security, and increase investor confidence and protection.”