Mainland wealth link with Hong Kong to be capped at US$23bil each way

HONG KONG (Bloomberg): The central government's plan to allow investments for private wealth across the border between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and its increasingly affluent southern region will be capped at 150 billion yuan (US$23 billion) in each direction.

The Wealth Management Connect programme, which will allow residents of Hong Kong and Macau SARs as well as major cities in China’s southern Guangdong province to invest across the border, will also have an individual quota of 1 million yuan, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

The programme will take an “incremental approach, starting with a smooth launch with possibilities for enhancements down the road, ” a HKMA spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

“At the initial stage, available wealth management products will cover non-complex products with medium to low risk.”

Talks are still going on between regulators in three jurisdictions, as well as with the financial industry.

Hong Kong’s Private Wealth Management Association hopes the the launch of the programme, which will initially target retail banking clients, will take place early next year, said its chairman, Amy Lo.

The long-awaited programme was announced without details in late June.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is lobbying for more financial integration to build the city’s presence as a hub for private wealth and as a prominent offshore renminbi centre.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for deeper integration during a visit earlier this month to Shenzhen, China’s sprawling tech hub that sits just on the Hong Kong border.

The programme is at first likely to only allow simple and non-complex products as defined by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission in areas such as foreign exchange, fixed income and mutual funds, Lo said.

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