The prestigious annual Asian Financial Forum (AFF), co-organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), will be held on 18 and 19 January at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The forum is expected to attract more than 2,600 participants including financial services professionals, business leaders, investors and high net-worth individuals from around the world.
“The Asian Financial Forum will again be the focus of attention for the global financial services industry at the beginning of the year, providing new insights into development of the industry from an Asian perspective, but with a global outlook,” said Helen Wong, Chairperson of the AFF Steering Committee and Chief Executive, Greater China, HSBC. “The Forum will explore recurrent topics of interest such as global economic prospects, policy trends, opportunities in the Chinese mainland market and the prospects for ASEAN as well as new opportunities in areas like Fintech and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”
Speaking at today’s press conference, HKTDC Service Promotion Director Jenny Koo introduced the theme of this year’s AFF as “Asia: Shaping the New Paradigm for Growth”. She said: “The forum will feature nearly 90 influential senior government officials, financial and business leaders, regulators and economists. They will analyse the current economic and investment environment, discuss key industry topics and explore new investment opportunities in Asia and beyond.”
Ben Bernanke to discuss implications US interest rate adjustment
AFF Keynote Luncheons are an annual highlight of the forum with a proud tradition of introducing world-renowned speakers. On 19 January, the Keynote Luncheon speaker will be Dr Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve System from 2006 to 2014. Dr Bernanke will discuss the normalisation of US interest rates and its effect on the global economy. He will also analyse the effects of divergent exchange rate and currency policies on the global market and capital flows. Following the luncheon, Dr Bernanke will also take part in an in-depth dialogue session with AFF participants.
Political and business leaders to analyse global trends
The AFF is a unique opportunity to hear from senior government officials and regulators from different countries, such as Arkady Dvorkovich, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Liu Zhenmin Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China. Prof KC Chan, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the HKSAR Government, will moderate a Plenary Session featuring Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance, Luxembourg, Per Bolund, Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs and Deputy Minister for Finance, Sweden, Kiatchai Sophastienphong, Vice Minister for Finance, Thailand, and Dr Nathan Sheets, Under Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The Policy Dialogue, moderated by Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority Norman Chan, will invite thought leaders to discuss ways that policies in different regions can foster economic growth while minimising risks. Speakers will include Steven Maijoor, Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia, Dr Gyorgy Matolcsy, Governor, Magyar Nemzeti Bank, Olivier Guersent, Director General of the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union of European Commission and Saeb Eigner, Chairman, Dubai Financial Services Authority.
Panel discussions tailored to the evolving interests of financial players and corporate investors will also be arranged. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board, Nestle S.A., Stuart Gulliver, Group Chief Executive, HSBC Holdings plc, Jiang Jianqing, Chairman, ICBC, and Jean Lemierre, Chairman, BNP Paribas will exchange insights during the Panel Discussion on Global Economy.
A Panel Discussion on the Prospects for ASEAN will cover the region’s evolving economic landscape with Piyush Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, DBS Group, Chairul Tanjung, Founder and Chairman, CT Corp, Wishnu Wardhana, President Director and Group CEO, PT. Indika Energy Tbk, and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ayala Corporation.
New vision for China
In the Panel Discussion on China Opportunities, leading mainland bankers, investors and officials including Tu Guangshao, Executive Vice Mayor of Shanghai, Niu Ximing, Chairman, Bank of Communications Co., Ltd., Wang Hongzhang, Chairman and Executive Director, China Construction Bank Corporation, and Wang Jianlin, Chairman, Dalian Wanda Group will examine emerging development and investment opportunities on the Chinese mainland against the backdrop of the upcoming 13th Five-Year Plan.
The Breakfast Panel on the second day of the forum, sponsored by Hong Kong’s Financial Services Development Council, will be titled “Hong Kong: Your Super-Connector to the Belt and Road Initiative”. Laura Cha, Non-official Member of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Financial Services Department Council, will deliver welcome remarks, which will be followed by a panel of financial experts examining how Hong Kong can leverage its financial services expertise to play a leading role in connecting the various Belt and Road countries and regions and enhance its position as an international financial centre.
Various thematic workshops will be also organised during the forum to explore a range of hot topics from Fintech adoption and renminbi internationalisation to the realignment of Asian supply chains and private wealth management.
Abundant investment opportunities at AFF
To help companies seize opportunities, a new Global Investment Summit will be launched at AFF 2016. Here, industry leaders and investment experts will evaluate the global market and explore asset allocation strategies. There will also be a special focus on priorities and challenges related to the Belt and Road Initiative as well as Chinese outbound investment.
Following last year’s successful arrangement of more than 500 meetings involving 185 investment projects from 22 countries and regions, this year’s AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session, co-organised by the HKTDC and the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, will again pre-arrange deal sourcing and matchmaking meetings for investment project owners, private equity firms, investors, high net-worth individuals and professionals from intermediaries and professional services providers. Dedicated project presentation showcases and roundtable discussions with industry leaders will also be arranged, spotlighting such priority sectors as food and agriculture, fintech, manufacturing technology and clean technology.
AFF participants can also visit the Global Investment Zone to explore investment and partnership opportunities from 12 countries, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Laos, Russia, Spain, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and the US. Hong Kong financial advisory services providers will also be on-hand to offer consultation to mainland and overseas companies looking for fund raising opportunities in Hong Kong.
Promoting Hong Kong’s financial services
AFF 2016 is the flagship event of the International Financial Week, a comprehensive programme of activities designed to facilitate greater exchange of ideas and business opportunities among global finance and business professionals. Starting from 14 January, 17 events will be held to showcase Hong Kong’s competitive edge in financial services, covering such topical themes as Asian private equity, alternative investments, business management, fund raising and monetary issues.