The Hong Kong - Switzerland financial seminar went into its second round

High-level professionals from both countries discussed how to reinvent the value proposition in wealth management in the wake of the changes to the industry landscape. Speakers from the authorities and the industry provided an overview of the current developments in private wealth management in Hong Kong and Switzerland.

At the successful second edition of the Swiss - Hong Kong financial seminar on September 27, 2018 in Hong Kong, more than 80 participants joined the panel discussions, deepened relationships between the two leading wealth management hubs and took advantage of the opportunity to exchange views and ideas. At the same time, the event was an excellent platform to strengthen the financial centre Switzerland. Promoting financial centre Switzerland and market access is a key focus of the Swiss Bankers Association in it international activities. Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer supports the SBA in positioning Switzerland as a leading global financial centre.

Amy Lo, Chairwoman of the Hong Kong Private Wealth Management Association (PWMA), introduced the seminar and highlighted that the annual exchange of views on wealth management topics between Hong Kong and Switzerland is a key objective of the financial seminar. Vincent Lee, Head External of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), provided an overview of the Hong Kong financial market. Herbert Scheidt, the President of the SBA, closed the introduction by highlighting the size and importance of the Swiss financial centre in a changing European setting and stressed the new paradigms in modern cross-border wealth management.

The first part of the seminar focused on the altered environment. The advent of the Common Reporting Standard is changing the nature of private wealth management. Rising wealth in China drives growth in Hong Kong private banking, but the emergence of an onshore private banking sector poses challenges for Hong Kong’s position. The panellists discussed how Switzerland and Hong Kong are reinventing their value propositions as leading wealth management centres in the wake of these and other changes to the industry landscape.

In the second part of the seminar, the discussion evolved around the opportunities emerging from the Greater Bay initiative. This initiative is a proposal to economically link Hong Kong, Macau and the cities of Guangdong’s Pearl River Delta to create a region with economic heft that is comparable to the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater New York and the Greater Tokyo Area. Last year, the combined GDP of the 11 cities in this area reached USD 1.4 trillion, or 12% of China’s total GDP. During the discussions, it became clear that a ‘Wealth Management Connect’ approach, modelled on Hong Kong’s successful ‘Stock Connect’ program will be critical. This program allows mutual stock exchange access between Hong Kong and mainland China.

The financial seminar was the second in a series, organised by the SBA and the HKMA. The first one was held in Berne in September 2017. The financial seminars build on a Memorandum of Understanding, which the PWMA and the SBA signed in January 2018. It focuses on deepening the relationship and collaboration between the two associations as well as the exchange of ideas to develop the private wealth management industry and other related issues of mutual interest.

In an interview with Bloomberg Asia, Herbert J. Scheidt highlighted that cooperation is important for Swiss private banks to serve the Asian markets.

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