Hong Kong confirms November banking summit after quarantine ends

Hong Kong confirmed on Thursday that it will host an international banking summit in early November, days after lifting mandatory quarantine rules for arrivals that have damaged the city’s reputation as a business hub.

The city has had a difficult three years, with a sweeping crackdown on political freedoms and the imposition of some of the toughest coronavirus pandemic controls in the world, which have kept the city isolated even as competitors reopen.

The Nov. 2 banking summit is expected to attract 200 attendees, including group chairmen or CEOs of 30 major financial institutions, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

HKMA Managing Director Eddie Yue wrote in a blog post that the event would allow guests to “meet their staff and customers in person and build new relationships” now that travel to Hong Kong has become easier.

“For most of them it will only be a short visit and we need to make sure they can meet people, do business and build relationships in the usual way they expect from an international city. dynamic,” added Yue.

The gathering will include roundtables with David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, as well as senior executives from JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, UBS and KKR, according to the HKMA.

Hong Kong last week scrapped a mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers after two and a half years, amid brain drain and loss of business to rivals like Singapore and London, which have reopened to the world a once their populations have been properly vaccinated.

But the city still adheres to a version of China’s zero-Covid strategy and has kept some pandemic restrictions in place, including social distancing, opening hour limitations and mandatory masking.

Arrivals in the city no longer have to quarantine in hotels, but they cannot enter restaurants or bars for three days after landing and must undergo regular testing.

Those who test positive risk being isolated in hotel rooms at their own expense.

It is unclear whether summit attendees will be exempt from pandemic-related restrictions, and the HKMA said on Thursday it was working to “finalize an appropriate set of arrangements.”

HSBC Chief Executive Noel Quinn and Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters were among banking industry leaders who previously pledged to attend the Hong Kong summit in person.