HK's financial services industry grows

Updated: 2011-12-01 10:05


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HONG KONG - Performance of various sectors of Hong Kong's financial services industry in recent years demonstrates the industry's strengths, and the number of total employees in the industry is growing, the city's financial chief said on Wednesday.

Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury, K C Chan, told lawmakers that the financial services industry is one of Hong Kong's four pillar industries, which employed 208,900 people in 2010, or 6 percent of the city's entire workforce. The figures rose to 224,800 or 6.2 percent in the second quarter this year.

In separate, initial public offerings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2009 and 2010 raised HK$248.2 billion ($32 billion) and HK$449.5 billion, the highest in the world in both years. In the first 10 months of this year, initial public offerings on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange still managed to raise a respectable HK$208.9 billion despite the volatility in financial markets during recent months.

In the asset-management sector, Hong Kong's combined fund- management business hit the HK$10-trillion mark in 2010, an increase of 18.6 percent over 2009. The average annual growth rate of the combined fund-management business during the past decade has been over 18 percent, he said.

Hong Kong's fund-management business is not only highly internationalized, but also boasts the highest assets under management in Asia (excluding Oceania), ahead of both Japan and Singapore.

The burgeoning Renminbi business is another bright spot in Hong Kong's financial services-industry. In the first nine months this year, Hong Kong banks handled a total of 1.329 trillion yuan ($209. 4 billion) in Renminbi trade settlement, accounting for 86 percent of the Mainland's Renminbi trade settlement during that period.

Renminbi deposits swelled to 622.2 billion yuan in September, almost doubling that at the end of last year. Hong Kong is also the largest offshore Renminbi bond market. As at the end of October, there had been 100 Renminbi-bond issuances with a total issuance size exceeding 166.3 billion.

In terms of contribution to the city's economic growth, Hong Kong's financial-services industry registered a remarkable increase of 132.6 percent in real terms from 2002 to 2010, whereas the corresponding figure for Singapore was 119.1 percent.

This suggests the overall growth in financial services in Hong Kong has been broadly comparable to that of Singapore, Chan said.

He also said Hong Kong boasts a large pool of financial talent capable of supporting the sustainable development of its financial services industry.

There were more than 4,000 Chartered Financial Analysts in Hong Kong at the end of June, making the Hong Kong Society of Financial Analysts the largest of its kind in Asia and the fourth largest globally, after New York, Toronto and the UK.

There were 4,270 Certified Financial Planners in Hong Kong in mid-2011 -- six for every 10,000 citizens, the highest ratio in the world. The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants has more than 32,000 members, of which 3,800 are certified to sign statutory audit reports, he added.