HONG KONG, Jan 6, 2020 – (ACN Newswire) – The 13th Asian Financial Forum (AFF) will be held on 13 and 14 January (Monday and Tuesday) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). Under the theme “Redefining Growth: Innovation, Breakthrough, Inclusiveness”, the event will draw in more than 100 influential global financial experts, policymakers, business leaders, economists and investors who will examine topical issues in the global economy and explore new opportunities. Heavyweight speakers joining the two keynote luncheon sessions are Janet Yellen, former Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Prof Abhijit Banerjee, joint winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics. Four Panel Discussion sessions will be held to discuss broad topics ranging from supply-chain finance solutions and the unprecedented growth of asset and wealth management in Asia, to insurance and risk management as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. The inaugural FintechHK Startup Salon will showcase fintech start-ups from Hong Kong and beyond, complemented by the returning Fintech Showcase and InnoTalks series. he 13th Asian Financial Forum (AFF) will be held on 13 and 14 January (Monday and Tuesday) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), with the theme “Redefining Growth: Innovation, Breakthrough, Inclusiveness”.

Mary Huen, Chairperson, Asian Financial Forum 2020 Steering Committee and Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, said: “The Asian Financial Forum is the annual financial event that kickstarts discussion in the new year. Introducing brand-new innovative concepts, the theme for this year’s AFF is ‘Redefining Growth: Innovation, Breakthrough, Inclusiveness’, exploring new ideas that will allow business leaders to keep pace with the ever-changing market and seek the best solutions to overcome the challenges presented by the uncertain global and local economic landscapes. Hong Kong is going through challenging times and the risk of an economic downturn is high, but with its solid foundation and diversified advantages, we believe the city can continue to provide a promising business environment for local and international corporations and financial institutions.”

Redefining Growth: Innovation, Breakthrough, Inclusiveness – plenary session

Technological breakthroughs have fostered significant progress in global growth. Recognising the importance of financial inclusion, policymakers are seeking innovative solutions to minimise the cost of implementing a financial inclusion pilot scheme.

The AFF opens with a plenary session titled “Redefining Growth: Innovation, Breakthrough, Inclusiveness” to discuss the current opportunities and challenges. The heavyweight overseas policymakers sharing their insights on promoting financial inclusion in the world include Michael D’Arcy, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, with special responsibility for Financial Services and Insurance, Ireland; Jin Liqun, President and Chairman, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; Uttama Savanayana, Minister of Finance, Thailand; and Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hungary.

The financial market outlook is currently pessimistic, with a potential global economic recession in the short term along with a range of uncertainties such as unsustainable corporate debt, volatile capital flows and disrupted supply chains. The current low interest-rate policy implemented by most central banks also gives policymakers comparatively little room to revitalise the economy. Following the plenary session, the Policy Dialogue “Global Outlook and Opportunities for 2020”, will see international financial experts share their strategies for tackling the global economic downturn. The distinguished panel of speakers includes Burkhard Balz, Member of the Executive Board, Deutsche Bundesbank; Martin Raiser, Country Director for China and Mongolia, and Director for Korea, World Bank Group; and Sergey Shvetsov, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia.

Panel discussions feature broad spectrum of financial sectors

The four AFF panel discussion sessions, including “Evolution of Global Trade and Supply Chain Finance”, will feature banking and financial-service sector leaders who highlight some of the emerging trends in supply-chain finance as well as the role of different stakeholders in trade facilitation against the backdrop of the Sino-US trade dispute, Brexit and tensions in the Middle East. Rapid wealth accumulation and the continued opening up of Mainland China is fuelling unprecedented growth in the asset- and wealth-management industries in Asia. The panel discussion on “Asset and Wealth Management in Asia: New Frontiers, Challenges and Opportunities” will discuss management models in the Asian market and how industry players can better position themselves to embrace and capitalise on these opportunities. Speakers at the two sessions include Howard Lee, Deputy Chief Executive, Hong Kong Monetary Authority; Julia Leung, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Intermediaries, Securities and Futures Commission; Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered PLC; William Fung, Group Chairman, Li & Fung Limited; Salman Fazlur Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Chairman, IFIC Bank Limited; Geraldine Buckingham, Chair of Asia Pacific, BlackRock; Suyi Kim, Senior Managing Director, Head of Asia Pacific, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB); and Amy Lo, Chairman, Executive Committee, Private Wealth Management Association, Head and Chief Executive, UBS Hong Kong Branch and Co-Head Wealth Management Asia Pacific, UBS Global Wealth Management.

The remaining two panel discussions “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)” and “Insurance and Inclusive Growth in Asia” feature Ronnie Chan, Chairman, Hang Lung Properties Limited; Yasuyuki Kawasaki, Deputy Chairman of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group; Winnie Wong, Board Member, Financial Services Development Council; Andrew Yan, Founding Managing Partner, SAIF Partners; Franz Hahn, CEO, Peak Reinsurance Ltd; Gordon Watson, Chief Executive Officer, AXA Asia; and Clarence Wong, Chief Economist Asia, Swiss Re.

Keynote speakers share on monetary policy and financial inclusion

The speaker at the keynote luncheon on the first day of AFF is Ms Yellen. From 2014 to 2018, under the Obama and Trump administrations, she served as Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, making history as the first woman to be appointed to that position. In this session, she will share her perspectives on the independence of central banks and the implementation of monetary policy, in addition to hot topics such as her view on the global economy and the impact of the Sino-US trade conflict. She will also take questions from the audience on related issues.

At the keynote luncheon on the second day of the forum, Mr Banerjee will address the subject of financial inclusion and share his thoughts on the economic policies and financial inclusion progress in developing countries, and India in particular.

Novel ideas from FintechHK Start-up Salon

Dr Patrick Lau, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director, said: “The HKTDC has long promoted Hong Kong’s strengths as an international financial centre and platform, attracting industries from around the world to look for investment opportunities, potential investors and financial partners. As the best platform for creating business connections and understanding market dynamics, AFF 2020 continues to connect different stakeholders from finance-related industries around the world and help them seek out new business opportunities.”

Dr Lau added that innovation and technology were having a profound impact on financial development. “We have seen technology companies launching banking businesses, while banks have also been introducing innovative technologies to stay competitive. In order to help participants capture fintech opportunities ahead of their competitors, we have stepped up our game in covering areas relating to innovation and technology, inviting experts to examine hot issues related to fintech and the broader business sector.”

Launched last year, the Fintech Showcase returns in 2020, together with the inaugural FintechHK Startup Salon, to present a plethora of fintech innovations and next-generation business ideas from some 90 fintech start-ups as well as leading financial institutions and technology firms from Hong Kong and beyond, including Assured Asset Management, BOCHK, CICC, HKT, NEC, Ping An OneConnect Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

InnoTalks explores fintech

The InnoTalks series returns in 2020 with various workshops on the second day of the forum, exploring technological issues relevant to the financial sector, including developments in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, financial innovation, investment technology and cyber security. Renowned speakers – including Simon Loong, Founder and CEO, WeLab, Terence Yeung, Chief Fintech Officer, MoneySQ.com, and Jonathan Larsen, Chief Innovation Officer, Ping An Group – will help participants gain a better grasp of financial innovations that can boost competitiveness in the current economic landscape.

Sponsored again by the Financial Services Development Council, Hong Kong (FSDC), the Breakfast Panel will be moderated by Winnie Wong, Board Member of the FSDC, on the theme “Hong Kong’s Changing Role as an Investment Gateway: New Trend, New Generation and New Strategy”. The panellists include Andrew Weir, Regional Senior Partner, KPMG Hong Kong, and Jim Lai, Vice President, Tencent Holdings Limited and Chairman of Fusion Bank Limited. Together they will explore the opportunities and risks for Hong Kong against the backdrop of recent economic and geopolitical developments, looking at what the city should do to safeguard its position as a leading international financial centre.

The HKTDC, together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS), will co-organise workshops to examine the circular economy and marine plastics as well as profit with purpose. Green finance has been growing strongly across the globe, with many innovative green financial products appearing on the market. The HKTDC and the Hong Kong Green Finance Association (HKGFA) will co-organise a session titled “2020 Green and Sustainable Finance Opportunities” to examine the opportunities offered by green finance in the coming year and how the planning of both authorities and the financial sector can align with sustainable development of the market. Meanwhile, many family businesses are coming to a point where succession needs to be considered. A session titled “The Road to Succession: How to Fully Achieve the Sustainable Development of Family Corporations?” will discuss how family businesses can achieve better standards related to environment, society and governance (ESG) and ways in which they can build a more efficient mechanism for succession.

AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking helps businesses explore cooperation

Over the years, the AFF has brought together elites from the world’s finance and business sectors to share insights on economic prospects and investment opportunities, and served as a platform where investors and project owners can explore cooperation. This year’s forum will once again join hands with the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association to organise the AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking session, providing deal-sourcing and matchmaking meetings for project owners and investors. It is expected that 200 investors and 500 investment projects will join one-on-one meetings. Industries covered include manufacturing, green technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), fintech and healthtech. Around 700 one-to-one meetings are expected to be arranged.

The InnoVenture Salon is back for the third time on an expanded scale and with enriched content, making it the ideal platform to connect start-ups with potential investors and partners. Start-ups will showcase their products and ideas, covering such areas as electronic technologies, healthtech, artificial intelligence (AI) and smart-city development at the Startup Zone, while pitching, business matching as well as clinics with industry practitioners and investment experts will also be provided. To capture opportunities brought about by technological advancements, the Fireside Chat session will feature Henri Arslanian, Chairman of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong, and Richard Chow, Executive Director, UBS AG and Head of Digital at UBS Wealth Management, together with industry pioneers from around the globe, to share insights on blockchain, artificial intelligence, sustainable inclusiveness, global investment outlook, wealthtech and healthtech.

To give participants a better understanding of Hong Kong’s regulatory system and business environment, a special session is being arranged at AFF 2020 for overseas corporations that are interested in setting up offices and investing in the city. Regulators and related agencies such as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), Insurance Authority, HKEX and InvestHK will meet with overseas start-ups and family offices to ready them for Asian markets. The Global Investment Zone is another highlight, gathering investment agencies from Bangladesh, Canada, Japan, Germany, Ireland, Spain, the US and more to present investment opportunities in different sectors