Business leaders from around the world will gather in Hong Kong to share insights at the 13th Asian Financial Forum (AFF), which takes place on 13 and 14 January 2020 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). Under the theme “Redefining Growth: Innovation ∙ Breakthrough ∙ Inclusiveness”, global financial experts, policymakers, business leaders and economists will examine topical issues in the global economy and explore new opportunities.

This year’s AFF will feature discussions on a wide range of issues such as the new global economy, fintech, sustainable and inclusive development and green financing, offering participants a head start in identifying new economic challenges and opportunities. Staying competitive by building on advantages Commenting on the importance of the AFF, Patrick Lau, HKTDC Deputy Executive Director, said: “With its diversified advantages, Hong Kong continues to provide a good business environment for companies and financial institutions from around the world.

Innovation and technology are having a profound impact on financial development. We are now seeing technology companies starting to launch banking businesses, while banks are introducing innovative technologies to stay competitive.

The Asian Finance Forum facilitates innovative and inspiring exchange, connecting different stakeholders in the finance-related industries and helping to create new business opportunities.” Yellen shares perspectives on the policy framework of central banks At the keynote luncheon on the first day of the AFF, one of the highlights of the event, former Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Janet Yellen, will be the keynote speaker.

Dr Yellen is a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Hutchins Centre on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution.

From February 2014 to February 2018, under the Obama and Trump administrations, she served as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, making history as the first woman to be appointed to that position. Prior to her four-year term as chair, Dr Yellen served as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and, from 2004 to 2010, as President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

At the AFF, Dr Yellen 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 war.

Prof Banerjee examines financial inclusion in developing countries The keynote speaker at the luncheon on the second day of the forum will be Nobel Prize winner Abhijit Banerjee, who will address the subject of financial inclusion, sharing his perspectives on the economic policies and financial inclusion progress in developing countries, particularly in India.

These high-ranking politicians will share their thoughts and insights on policy responses for addressing weaknesses in the global economy.

Heavyweight speakers to address topical issues This year, four Panel Discussion sessions will be held in the afternoon of the first day, at which influential policymakers and business leaders will examine a range of different topics, ranging from supply chain finance solutions and the unprecedented growth of asset and wealth management in Asia, to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and insurance.

Heavyweight speakers at the sessions include Howard Lee, Deputy Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority; Julia Leung, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Intermediaries at the Securities and Futures Commission; Winnie Wong, Board Member of the Financial Services Development Council; Suyi Kim, Senior Managing Director and Head of Asia Pacific of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board; Amy Lo, Co-head, UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific; Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered PLC; Mike Wells, Group Chief Executive of Prudential plc; Ronnie Chan, Chairman of Hang Lung Properties Limited; Gerald Buckingham, Head of Asia Pacific of BlackRock; and Andrew Yan, Managing Partner of SAIF Partners. Sponsored by the Financial Services Development Council, Hong Kong, the Breakfast Panel will discuss on “Hong Kong’s Changing Role as an Investment Gateway: New Trend, New Generation and New Strategy”. The panelists include Andrew Weir, Regional Senior Partner, KPMG Hong Kong, and Jim Lai, Vice President, Tencent Holdings Limited and Chairman, Fusion Bank Limited. Together they will explore the opportunities and risks Hong Kong faces 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.

FinTech Showcase presents innovative applications and solutions Innovation and technology have had a profound impact on the development of the financial industry. The FinTech Showcase, launched last year, returns to feature nearly 60 local and overseas international financial institutions and technological enterprises, including Assured Asset Management, Nippon Electric Company (NEC), Ping An OneConnect and Standard Chartered, presenting a wide range of fintech innovations and cutting-edge solutions. Moreover, the new FinTechHK Start-Up Salon will showcase a plethora of next-generation business ideas from fintech startups from Hong Kong and beyond. Also returning is the InnoTalks series which will explore a series of technological issues relevant to the financial sector, including developments in the Guangdong-Hong KongMacao Greater Bay Area, financial innovation, investment technology and Internet security. The series will give industry players comprehensive insights into innovative fintech developments that can help to boost competitiveness.

AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking facilitates collaboration Another key feature at this year’s forum is the well-received AFF Deal Flow Matchmaking Session, which is co-organised by the HKTDC and the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.

It is expected that 200 investors and 500 investment projects will join one-on-one meetings, covering industries including manufacturing and green technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), fintech, digital technology, healthtech, infrastructure and real estate services, environmental protection and energy, education, food and agriculture. 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 at exhibition booths and present their business plans at pitching sessions. The Global Investment Zone is another highlight not to be missed, gathering investment agencies from Canada, Germany, Ireland, Spain, the United States and more to present investment opportunities in different sectors.

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