Hong Kong has won over Goldman Sachs and other bank executives after lifting strict Covid rules


The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced on Thursday that it would welcome them, including executives Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO David Solomon, Morgan Stanley (THE MRS) CEO James Gorman, Standard Chartered (SCBFF) CEO Bill Winters, and HSBC (HSBC) Chief executive Noel Quinn to the city in November.
General managers UBS (UBS), BlackRock (BLK), Blackstone (BX) and JPMorgan (JPM) they are also in the program, which will start on November 2nd and which includes about 200 participants.

Now, instead of having to isolate themselves in a designated hotel room for three nights, business travelers and tourists can base themselves in the accommodation of their choice, as long as they monitor their health for three days, including rapid Covid tests. .

According to the rules in force, passengers are free to move around, although they will not be allowed to enter restaurants or bars for the first three days of their stay.

The summit was announced by Hong Kong Finance Secretary Paul Chan in February.

But for several months, there was little news about his agenda, and there was speculation that high-flying bankers were reluctant to commit to the event if he had to spend time in mandatory quarantine.

The Hong Kong government has granted special exemptions in the past. In the first year, JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon was allowed to visit the city without such restrictions when he flew in to meet with the bank’s regional chief and local staff.

However, the unquarantined arrival of a wealthy foreigner sparked public outrage at a time when most incoming travelers had to self-isolate in hotels at their own expense for 21 days.

The backlash reached such heights that Hong Kong’s then-leader, Carrie Lam, was forced to defend Dimon’s special dispensation, saying it was in the interest of “Hong Kong’s economy”.

As with many people, it is It’s inconvenient for executives to travel to Hong Kong when “things aren’t really open,” a person who works in the city’s financial industry told CNN Business. They have requested anonymity to discuss sensitive issues.

If someone were to ask for a similar exemption to Dimon, “it would be very problematic to have two sets of standards, especially when Hong Kong residents have risen in the last couple of years,” the person added.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon was allowed to skip quarantine in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is home to JPMorgan’s Asia Pacific headquarters, as well as many other financial firms.
But his strict “zero Covid” policy over the past two years has backfired, with the international business community warning of severe economic damage and a mass exodus of talent to rival cities like Singapore.

The strict rules have also prompted relentless questioning of executives such as HSBC’s Quinn, who was repeatedly asked in recent earnings calls whether Hong Kong was still a banking powerhouse.

Now, the speech It will be an important part of the city’s efforts to demonstrate that it has truly reopened for global business.

In a statement on Thursday, HKMA chief Eddie Yue said delegates at the summit will discuss interest rate hikes and global inflation, among other issues.

“I am grateful to our friends who are traveling to the summit at a time when some anti-epidemic controls remain in place,” he said, noting that “the recent relaxation of some control measures is helpful.”

“We need to make sure they can meet people, do business and build relationships in the way they normally expect from a vibrant international city,” Yue added.