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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.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The main macro-financial risks relate to extensive linkages to Mainland China, stretched real estate valuations, and exposure to shifts in global market and domestic risk sentiment, compounded by escalating U.S.-China tensions. Stress tests show that the financial system is resilient to severe macro-financial shocks, but there are pockets of vulnerabilities in foreign bank branches, investment funds, households, and nonfinancial corporates. Hong Kong SAR’s financial sector is also exposed to physical and transition risks from climate change.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
GDP contracted by 9½ percent in 2020—a much steeper decline than during the Asian Financial Crisis (AFC)—but it is now recovering with the easing of containment measures and economic policy support. Banks are closely connected to the corporate sector through high credit exposures and conglomerate ownership linkages. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) may list the Philippines as a jurisdiction with serious Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies in 2021. The country is also vulnerable to climate change (physical) risks, especially the destruction of physical capital from typhoons.