HKMA chief Norman Chan to retire, panel to identify successor

February 22, 2019 11:05
HKMA chief executive Norman Chan, who is set to retire on Oct. 1, helped in reforming the international financial system following the global financial crisis. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) chief executive Norman Chan Tak-Lam will retire from his post on Oct. 1, a day after his second five-year term expires, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po announced on Thursday.

In a statement, the finance chief said Norman Chan has been leading HKMA since 2009. He "played a pivotal role in the international financial system reform agenda" in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as the world sought to reform the international financial system to increase its resilience against future shocks.

"Norman Chan has worked tirelessly over the years to strengthen the city's monetary and banking systems while promoting Hong Kong's position as an international financial center in Asia," Paul Chan said.

"I respect his wish and decision to retire upon completion of his second term as chief executive of the HKMA," he added.

Norman Chan, 64, was just the second HKMA chief after the city's de facto central bank was established in 1993, taking over from Joseph Yam Chi-kwong in 2009 amid the global financial crisis.

Stressing that Hong Kong has sound and robust monetary and banking systems, Paul Chan said the change in leadership at the HKMA would not affect its operation or the stability of the financial system, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The finance chief said he is leading a selection panel to identify Norman Chan's successor. The other members of the panel include Joseph Yam; Victor Fung Kwok-king, honorary chairman of global sourcing giant Li & Fung Ltd. (00494.HK); Professor Lawrence Lau Juen-yee from the Chinese University of Hong Kong; and Thomas Brian Stevenson, non-executive director of the Hong Kong Mortgage Corp.

For his part, Norman Chan said he felt that now is the right time for him to retire and spend more time with his family after having worked 43 years since graduation.

"I will be fully committed to the tasks on hand in the coming seven months, including a smooth transition of leadership, to ensure the continued effective operation of the HKMA," he said.

The Hong Kong currency shot up to as high as 7.8482 to the US dollar on Thursday after the market learned about the government's announcement but retreated later.

Meanwhile, there is much speculation on who will be the next HKMA chief.

Ignatius Chan Tze-ching, a senior banker who had been chief executive of Citibank (Hong Kong) and council chairman of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said the next HKMA chief must understand that the authority's task is not only to monitor the financial system but to be always ready to make adjustments according to changes in the market and needs of the era.

At the moment, two names are being floated in the financial industry as a possible successor to Norman Chan. They are both senior deputy chief executives of the HKMA: Eddie Yue Wai-man and Arthur Yuen Kwok-hang.

Yue, who joined the HKMA in 1993, is currently responsible for reserves management, external affairs, and research, while Yuen, who joined the HKMA in 1996, is in charge of the full range of banking policy, supervision, conduct, and enforcement issues at the authority.

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