Hong Kong Banking Group, UAE Form Closer Ties

Editorial Staff 5 January 2024

Hong Kong Banking Group, UAE Form Closer Ties

The UAE has been expanding its reach and linkages in recent years, while Hong Kong has worked on a number of fronts to revive its fortunes as a financial hub and centre for entities such as family offices.

While major financial rivals as centres, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates organisations are also forging closer ties.

UAE Banks Federation (UBF) and Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) have signed a pact to boost cooperation and exchange expertise for the banking and wider financial sector. 

UBF and HKAB will share knowledge and experience to develop banking and financial sector, organising workshops and programmes to banking and financial institutions, the organisations said in a press release in late December.

The agreement is a sign of how the United Arab Emirates is spreading its wings as a jurisdiction, while Hong Kong’s move shows how the city-state is seeking to revive its fortunes after the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and changing geopolitics. For example, Hong Kong and the UAE have pushed to promote their status as hubs for family offices (see here and here).

“Our cooperation will contribute to the development of the financial and banking sector and consolidate the UAE’s position among the most prominent financial and banking centres in the world,” Jamal Saleh, Director General of UBF, was quoted by the news service as saying. “This agreement will also enable us to share experiences in legislative and regulatory aspects, best practices in governance, transparency, risk management, sustainability, digital transformation, and the use of advanced technologies to provide a safe and seamless banking experience for different segments of banking clients.”

Stephen Chan, acting chairman of HKAB, added: "We look forward to a closer collaboration with the UAE banking industry and to work together for the common good. Hong Kong and our banking sector can play a pivotal role in bridging UAE financial institutions and corporates with the financing and investment opportunities that the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong markets offer."

Last year, the UBF (founded in 1982) and the Securities and Commodities Authority in the UAE signed a MoU to foster mutual cooperation in developing the financial sector, establishing the UAE as a “major attraction for asset and wealth management in line with the government’s aspirations for the next fifty years”, the UBF said. The HKAB was founded in 1981.

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