Speech at Panel on Financial Affairs

Directorate staffing proposals in the Financial Services Branch of the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau

Justifications for re-creating and retaining the two directorate posts

Mr CHAN Chun-ying supported the proposals on the two directorate posts. On the DS(FS)3 post, he pointed out many of its duties were ongoing in nature and asked why the Administration had not submitted the proposal earlier as the post had already lapsed since 1 January 2021. Moreover, Mr CHAN noted that there were another two Deputy Secretaries (“DSes”) in FSB overseeing policies and initiatives including regulation and development of securities and capital markets, asset and wealth management, banking, financial cooperation with the Mainland, insurance and mandatory provident fund etc. He enquired if the Administration would consider creating permanent directorate posts in FSB given that all DSes were already fully occupied with their own heavy portfolios.

While expressing support for the proposals, Mr MA Fung-kwok enquired about the urgency of the proposals which necessitated the Panel to hold a meeting during the summer break of the Legislative Council (“LegCo”) to consider the item.

PSFS(FS) advised that there were at present two permanent DSes posts in FSB and the proposed DS(FS)3 post would be supernumerary. All DSes were fully engaged with their existing policy initiatives and legislative exercises which were critical to the development of the financial services sector in Hong Kong, in particular promoting financial collaboration with the Mainland including the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (“the Greater Bay Area”) in various fronts so as to facilitate Hong Kong enterprises to tap into the opportunities arising from the Mainland market. The Administration noted that LegCo Members had previously expressed reservations about proposed creation of permanent directorate posts under the current financial situation, and had therefore critically reviewed the two directorate posts in FSB. After the review, FSB decided to create time-limited supernumerary posts first to handle the related duties. On the submission of the proposals to the Panel, PSFS(FS) said that FSB had been fully engaged in recent months with various policy initiatives and legislative exercises, such as the reform of the regulatory regime of the accounting profession and the implementation of the new inspection regime of the Company Register, and hence could only submit the proposals for consultation with the Panel until now.

Hong Kong’s participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Mr CHAN Chun-ying sought information on the workload of DS(FS)3 and PAS(FS)6 in matters relating to AIIB and the progress of the proposal for AIIB to set up an office in Hong Kong.

PSFS(FS) said that the Administration was in discussion with AIIB on setting up an office in Hong Kong. The exercise, when materialized, would involve various issues including staffing arrangement, office accommodation, privileges and immunities for AIIB staff. The Administration would inform LegCo of the developments when ready. She further said that the Administration would continue to promote and facilitate AIIB in using Hong Kong’s capital market for raising funds, bond issuance and dispute resolution, and to make use of Hong Kong’s service providers in its procurement process.