The asset management market in Hong Kong has cheered the removal of the island’s quarantine rules and the prospect of returning fund managers.
Hong Kong’s strict Covid-19 measures required overseas travellers to undergo hotel quarantine for three days upon arrival.
This was seen as a contributing factor to a brain drain and skills shortage and was decried by several industry groups.
The Hong Kong Investment Funds Association (HKIFA) claimed that the rules were threatening Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre and made it especially hard to attract overseas fund managers.
Meanwhile, a survey run by advisory firm Z/Yen Partners saw Hong Kong overtaken by Singapore in its ranking of global financial centres.
Now that the quarantine measures have been scrapped, industry and government groups are confident that it can once again regain its international status.
“[The quarantine rules] may have hampered our attractiveness and retention of talent, but we will soon reconnect with the world and talent will return,” said financial secretary Paul Chan Mo-po during the annual conference of the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers. “We are determined to roll out a message to attract more people to come [back] to Hong Kong.”
While the quarantine measures have been scrapped, there are still some measures in place for overseas visitors who will be restricted from visiting bars and restaurants for three days and must test daily for seven days.
Consequently, the HKIFA has asked for more clarity on when all Covid-19 measures will be removed. “The relaxations are welcome as they represent major improvements,” said Sally Wong, chief executive officer of HKIFA.
“But we hope that the government can throw light on the last mile, i.e., under what conditions will all restrictions can be removed so that we can be on par with international financial centres?”
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