The future of banking in Hong Kong
Monday 14 November 2011 - by Will Henley in Hong Kong
"It is growing fast - incredibly fast - and is a matter of interest for banks all over the world. That is why here both local and foreign banks are very aggressive for this type of business," says Oliboni.
Just last month Beijing issued new rules on how foreign firms can bring offshore renminbi funds into China, and all eyes are on the People's Bank of China to find out what further it may do to "internationalise" the currency abroad.
As China continues to loosen controls on its currency, the Italian says Hong Kong will only become more attractive to foreign firms, who will inevitably seek to cash in on the burgeoning market. This will allow banks there to steal a march on rival centres in the region, she adds.
"The policies that China will put in place to facilitate the development of the Hong Kong offshore RMB market will represent an additional point of attraction for foreign financial institutions. It will ensure they set up their operation in Hong Kong - rather than in Singapore."
So can Hong Kong's bankers and authorities be confident about the future? "I don't have a crystal ball," says Oliboni, "but I am optimistic.
"If you keep your competitiveness, your freedom and your rule of law - as Hong Kong has - you don't have to be afraid. This is your strengthen and your advantage."
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