Managing Director and Partner of Axiom Investment Management, Alvin Ma, recently participated in an online panel hosted by the South China Morning Post: “Can Hong Kong maintain its role as a financial hub?”
Moderated by SCMP Business Editor Eugene Tang, the webinar aimed to address whether the newly-imposed National Security Law would impact Hong Kong’s role as a financial and investment center, especially with the United States’ decision to no longer recognize the city’s autonomous trade status, along with various sanctions imposed on the city in response to the invocation of the law.
Some of the questions the panel addressed included:
Is the National Security Law, and the sanctions that have come along with it, impacting the way in which wealth management firms and corporates are operating within Hong Kong?
Is Hong Kong sure to retain its role as a gateway in and out of China and can it remain a crucial market for mainland firms to raise capital from international investors, allowing it to maintain its status as a global financial hub?
What are some of the long-term benefits that businesses may see by staying put in Hong Kong and working within the parameters of the National Security Law?
In response to these prompts, Mr. Ma spoke from the perspective of investment firms representing clients based in mainland China who sought financial management services in Hong Kong. Namely: What has been his experience dealing with mainland clients since China passed the security law in July, and has the law convinced any mainlanders to postpone their investments within Hong Kong?
Some of the interesting points he brought up included the law being the first of many steps to connect Hong Kong within the Greater Bay Area (GBA) to neighboring cities such as Macau and Guangzhou, as the number of entrepreneurs and businesses increases. “We [Axiom] see business will be usual in the end, along with that future/upcoming opportunities derived from the Greater Bay Area will more than make up for any potential threats.
Ultimately, the consensus of the panel from all sides was that “business would be usual” for the financial sector, even with the National Security Law and the resulting implications of it in mind. Despite concerns both locally and abroad, the financial industry of Hong Kong would likely recover and continue to grow, especially as more younger talent enters the financial market and an upward surge in Fintech (financial technologies) innovations due to the pandemic limiting physical consultations by wealth managers. While the Covid-19 pandemic has only added to the struggles of the city to resume normal activity, which is still recovering from social unrest, many should feel optimistic that things will eventually improve and Hong Kong can retain its status as a vital financial center in the Asia Pacific region.