Efforts to ensure financial stability in Hong Kong

Hong Kong (HKSAR) - Hong Kong is stepping up efforts to ensure financial stability in view of the importance of tackling counterparty risks across global financial markets highlighted by the European sovereign debt crisis, the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, said today (November 10, Honolulu time) at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Finance Ministers' Meeting in Honolulu.

Mr Tsang said that apart from preparing for the implementation of the Basel III framework in 2013 and a new short selling reporting regime in 2012, Hong Kong is also following up in earnest the commitments made by the Group of Twenty (G20) Leaders regarding the operation of the over-the-counter derivatives market.

In the course of developing such reform measures, the importance of a global scheme for uniquely identifying participants in the financial market has been highlighted.Under a global legal entity identifier (LEI), an entity entering into a transaction in different financial products and in different locations can be uniquely identified.

Mr Tsang pointed out that the international regulatory community generally recognises the importance of the global LEI in meeting the G20 objectives of improving transparency, mitigating risk and protecting against market abuse.

The Committee on Payment and Settlement System and the International Organization of Securities Commission consider the development of an LEI a valuable tool in supporting data aggregation in trade repositories.The G20 Leaders supported the global LEI initiative at their Cannes Summit last week, and called on the Financial Stability Board to take the lead in helping co-ordinate work among members of the regulatory community.

"Hong Kong fully recognises the merits of adopting a global approach to identify participants in the financial market.We have been paying close attention to international developments on the introduction of this scheme.In particular, the financial regulators in Hong Kong have been actively participating in the work of international standard setting bodies to help shape the relevant standards," he said.

Mr Tsang told the meeting that Hong Kong is in the process of developing a regulatory framework for the over-the-counter derivatives market and establishing a trade repository system.

Apart from the LEI scheme, Mr Tsang also saw the need for greater international co-ordination on mandatory clearing to address the challenges related to accessing Central Counterparties (CCPs) and mutual recognition of CCPs.This would avoid potential conflict among regulatory frameworks by different jurisdictions.

"It is important to develop and implement an internationally accepted framework for recognition of CCPs based on international standards recommended by the relevant bodies.Our financial regulators will continue to participate in the international discussion through the Financial Stability Board and the International Organization of Securities Commission," he noted.

Mr Tsang also told the meeting how Hong Kong had strived to stay competitive and achieve sustainable growth in order to maintain its economic vibrancy and cope with changes in the global economy.Strategies include strengthening economic integration with China, diversifying the city's export markets and economic structure and investing in infrastructure development and the workforce.

He said that with the reduction in consumption demand in the advanced economies, the global financial crisis has heightened the urgency to transform and rebalance growth.Since no region can replace the advanced economies as the key driver of global demand in the near future, growth rebalancing is a long term objective that needs concerted efforts not just from APEC economies, but also globally.

"APEC must continue to promote free trade and structural reform, which are important in helping to redress global imbalances.A strong and well functioning financial system would also be one of the critical foundations to support sustainable growth.

"To this end, apart from participating in international bodies, Hong Kong will continue to commit itself to implementing the international financial regulatory reforms, taking into account our local circumstances," he added.

Having completed the APEC Finance Ministers' Meeting, Mr Tsang will leave Honolulu tomorrow (November 11, Honolulu time) and arrive in Hong Kong on Saturday (November 12).

Published on: 2011-11-11

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