HK to reinforce its global financial center position

16:48, February 24, 2010      

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Hong Kong will take measures to reinforce its position as a global financial center and asset management center in the current legislative year, according to the Appropriation Bill 2010 released here on Wednesday.

Financial Secretary John Tsang outlined the main measures in his budget speech, including developing offshore RMB business, promoting asset management business and improving the financial regulatory system.

Tsang noted that Hong Kong would like to be the first testing ground for all new measures relating to the liberalization of China's capital account and the regionalization and internationalization of RMB, and the Special Administrative Region (SAR) government would continue to take forward work in this regard.

Referring to the asset management business, Tsang proposed to introduce a number of measures to strengthen the competitiveness of the industry and attract more talent, capital and products to HK.

These measures included extending the stamp duty concession in respect of the trading of exchange traded funds (ETFs), extending the profits tax concession to all qualifying debt instruments with a maturity of less than seven years, and attracting more fund managers to manage overseas funds in HK by further clarifying the definition of "central management and control".

Tsang pointed out that the current financial crisis did not cause systemic problems to HK's financial system, whereas the authorities would still take steps to further improve HK's financial regulatory system so as to strengthen investor protection.

The measures in the first phase, which focus on improving the sales practices for investment products, the professional conduct of intermediaries and investor education, have been implemented.

For the longer-term measures, Tsang said the government was consulting the public on proposals to establish an "Investor Education Council" and a "Financial Dispute Resolution Center", aiming at strengthening investor protection in every aspect.

Additionally, the SAR government is preparing for public consultation on a proposal to amend the Securities and Futures Ordinance to require timely disclosure of certain price-sensitive information by listed companies.

Source: Xinhua
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