HONG KONG: Monetary authority looks for plugs in fintech gaps.

As published on thestandard.com.hk, Thursday 13 October, 2022.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said the SAR lacks data analytics and fintech talent, though the problems are expected to be addressed by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-Chiu in his policy address next Wednesday.

Speaking at the FinTech's Finest Forum 2022, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui Ching-yu said the administration attaches great importance to fintech development and talent cultivation and is active in those areas.

He also remarked that financial science is not only to use the most advanced technology to develop financial products but also to improve operating efficiency and reshape services.

On that, the administration has launched a fintech proof-of-concept subsidy scheme with plans to expand not only through financial institutions but to provide funding for research institutions.

And a single approved project sum could increase to HK$150,000.

There are now over 600 fintech companies operating in Hong Kong, Hui noted. They cover many different technologies including big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, insurance, regulations, credit and wealth, "with potential for application and commercialization."

Meanwhile, the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group yesterday launched a sustainable finance internship initiative. The aim is to create more internship opportunities in Hong Kong for students.

The steering group is co-chaired by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Securities and Futures Commission.

On another front, the HKMA said SAR banks are not obliged to comply with unilateral sanctions imposed by foreign governments. That came in response to a report that a number of Russian firms shut out of Western financial capitals are exploring the SAR as an alternative place for doing business.

"It's up to banks to assess risks and treat customers fairly," remarked a spokesperson for the HKMA.

Hong Kong banks had overall exposure of just HK$800 million to Russia as of the end of June, down from HK$2.6 billion at the end of February. That accounted for less than 0.01 percent of banks' total assets.

In other developments, the HKMA bought HK$1.02 billion local dollars from the market to defend its peg to the US currency yesterday, while two-year and five-year yuan-denominated sovereign bonds totaling 5.5 billion yuan to be issued in the city were nearly three times oversubscribed, the HKMA said.

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