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For Hong Kong to maintain its role as a financial centre, unfettered travel is necessary

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - As the city continues to uphold some of the harshest coronavirus rules in the world, an industry research...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - As the city continues to uphold some of the harshest coronavirus rules in the world, an industry research stated that Hong Kong must permit financial sector employees to travel freely in order to maintain its status as a worldwide investment and banking hub.

According to the research from the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) and PwC released on Tuesday, Hong Kong continued to be a significant regional market but was currently dealing with "some of its largest challenges to date."

According to the survey, Hong Kong is home to more than half of the significant funds in the region with at least $1 billion under management, making it the largest hedge fund hub in Asia.

But in the last two years, there has been a mass outflow of citizens from the city due to travel restrictions and border closures, and the financial services industry is seeing a "brain drain" of talent.

The report stated that more work should be done "to sustain the city's competitive advantages and to construct an even brighter and resilient future against increased competition and global concerns, including the pandemic."

In order to properly recognise Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre and larger local public health implications, a careful balance must be achieved.

According to government figures, Hong Kong has reported more than 1.2 million coronavirus infections and roughly 9,400 fatalities.

Hong Kong is one of only a few cities left to still enforce quarantine, with visitors needing to spend seven days in a designated hotel at their own expense. Despite not seeing the same death toll as other big cities, the city has managed to avoid the disease.

A rule that prohibited specific aircraft from landing with COVID-19-infected passengers was loosened last week after the city's administration claimed the restriction caused people "unnecessary worry" and annoyance.

Business travel to Hong Kong has decreased as a result of airline bans and quarantine regulations, and global bank executives have largely avoided the city since 2020, despite often visiting Singapore, a rival regional financial centre.

According to official figures, Hong Kong has seen net outflows of more than 140,000 individuals since the year's beginning. How many have departed temporarily or permanently is unknown.

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