Hong Kong: Financing Asia’s Growth with HKEX CEO Nicolas Aguzin
In our first large scale in-person event since the pandemic, Asia Society Hong Kong welcomed Nicolas Aguzin, recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) and Trustee of the Asia Society, as the guest speaker for Hong Kong: Financing Asia’s Growth on 15 July 2021. Aguzin spoke with our Chairman, Ronnie C. Chan, about his vision for Hong Kong with its strategic position in the Greater Bay Area and the role HKEX will have in tapping into the potential Hong Kong has, fortifying Hong Kong’s role as an international financial center.
The Big Bang of Finance
When asked about why he left his senior positions at a private bank, he cited the unneglectable ‘Big Bang of Finance’ as his reason for seizing the opportunity to join the HKEX. Aguzin believes this financial Big Bang will occur in China over the coming ten years, inclusive of a Chinese market in excess of over 100 trillion US dollars, an influx of international investment into China, and the expansion of China’s domestic saving platform to the outside world. Within this positive development, Aguzin hopes to ensure continuous dialogue and connectivity between East and West, allowing for an entangled society that can be simultaneously harmonious. Aguzin sharply summarizes Hong Kong’s role with his line, “Hong Kong is the most Chinese international city outside of the mainland and it’s the most international city of China.”
A vibrancy benefiting everyone
According to Aguzin, Hong Kong has much to offer from being the second largest biotech capital raising hub in the world, to having many prominent private equity firms based in Hong Kong, to being home to some of the highest-ranked universities globally, fortifying the continuation of Hong Kong as an engine of growth in the Southeast Asia region. Aguzin emphasized his desire for not only Hong Kong to do well, but for Shanghai and Shenzhen to do well as well. When Shanghai and Shenzhen perform well, he believes that Hong Kong will benefit just as much. He places great importance on creating a vibrancy in the markets which will allow everyone involved to benefit, creating a bigger pie rather than having the benefits amount to a zero-sum game.
HKEX will continue to strive for growth
While sharing his optimism for the future of Hong Kong, Aguzin also shared what improvements he sees for the future of HKEX in terms of larger scale initiatives to daily operations of the exchange. He stated that with the current ambiguity surrounding the definition of ESG and green finance, the HKEX is working with other stakeholders to develop a uniform understanding of different dimensions of ESG. While at the ground level of daily operations, he delved into the possibility of learning from the pandemic and incorporating work-from-home arrangements so as to ensure smoother operations of the exchange during unforeseen circumstances such as the Black Rainstorm Signal that was hoisted a few weeks ago which caused the suspension of the market.
In his conversation with the Asia Society, Aguzin reinforced HKEX’s 2019-2021 strategic plan of "China Anchored, Globally Connected, and Technology Empowered” with the further clarity and details our members seek. We wish Aguzin the best in his endeavours at the HKEX and look forward to welcoming his expertise and insights in our future programs.