HKMA Chief of Ten Years Set to Retire in September

Norman Chan will leave behind a healthy banking industry with strong capital ratios and low bad debt levels. A selection panel will identify the HKMA’s next chief. 

Norman Chan Tak-lam, the chief executive of the HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority) since 2009, will retire at the end of September, marking the end of his second five-year term, reports the SCMP.

Chan, 64, began his career in public service during British colonial days, and took over leadership of the HKMA just after the onset of the global financial crisis. He is credited with mortgage tightening measures that reduced banks’ exposure to property downturns, successfully defending the Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the US dollar, and maintaining the stability of the financial markets for ten years.

More recently, he has pushed Hong Kong financial institutions to embrace fintech, including through the HKMA’s launch of the Faster Payment System and a licensing path for virtual banks.

“It has been a great honour for me to work with colleagues at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to safeguard Hong Kong’s monetary and financial stability, as well as to enhance our competitiveness and position as an international financial centre,” Chan said in a statement following the government’s announcement.

“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.”

The second highest paid central banker in the world, Chan will leave behind a healthy banking industry, with capital ratios at 19 percent and bad debt at just 0.7 percent of total lending. But according to Reuters BreakingViews, it is the next economic crash that will determine the legacy and effectiveness of Chan’s policy moves.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po will chair a selection panel to identify the next chief executive, the government said.

The HKMA’s three deputy chiefs – Arthur Yuen Kwok-hang, Howard Lee, and Eddie Yue – are considered likely candidates to succeed the outgoing Chan.


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