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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Regime (HKSAR) is home to a fast-growing and highly international investment fund industry. The public investment fund industry authorized in HKSAR has grown rapidly from US$628 billion in 2008 to US$1.6 trillion in net asset value (NAV) in 2020. The locally domiciled sector grew from US$121 billion in early 2015 to almost US$155 billion in 2020. Open-end funds authorized for sale in HKSAR are substantially invested in foreign assets and significantly invested in by non-HKSAR residents and are therefore reactive to international liquidity and price conditions. Locally domiciled funds invest their portfolios in both local and overseas assets markets, while they are overwhelmingly funded by HKSAR investors.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This note provides an update and assessment of developments in insurance supervision since 2014. It is part of the 2020 Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) for the Hong Kong SAR (HKSAR) and draws on discussions there from September 10 to 24, 2019. It has not been updated for the impact of recent global events associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The insurance sector is large, especially long-term (life) insurance, highly international and has been growing steadily. The long-term market is amongst the world’s largest, particularly by penetration (premiums to GDP). Growth has been supported by the popularity of savings products, including sales of policies to Mainland Chinese visitors (MCVs), although these have declined from their peak. The general insurance sector, though comprising many more companies, is relatively small and spread over many lines. The authorities have identified scope for growth in protection policies as well as opportunities for captive and specialty lines related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Tax incentives have supported the recent successful introduction of new annuity and health insurance products. Although foreign-owned companies account for a large share of business, the HKSAR is the home of three major domestic groups operating internationally.
Mr. Fabian Valencia, Richard Varghese, Weijia Yao, and Juan Yepez
The policy response to the COVID-19 shock included regulatory easing across many jurisdictions to facilitate the flow of credit to the economy and mitigate a further ampli-fication of the shock through tighter financial conditions. Using an intraday event study,this paper examines how stock prices—a key driver in financial conditions—reacted to regulatory easing announcements in a sample of 18 advanced economies and 8 emerging markets. The paper finds that overall, regulatory easing announcements contributed to looser financial conditions, but effects varied across sectors and tools. Financial regulatory easing led to lower valuations for financial sector stocks, and higher valuations for non-financial sector stocks, particularly for industries that are more dependent on bank financing. Furthermore, valuations declined and financial conditions tightened following announcements related to easier bank capital regulation while equity valuation rose and financial conditions loosened after those about liquidity regulation. Effects from non-regulatory financial measures appear to be generally more muted.