Hong Kong welcomes issuance and listing of catastrophe bond by World Bank

A gong-strike ceremony was held today at the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) to mark the inaugural insurance-linked securities listing with the presence of officiating guests (from left): the Head of Listing of the HKEX, Ms Katherine Ng; the Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank, Mr Jorge Familiar; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui; the Chief Executive Officer of the Insurance Authority, Mr Clement Cheung; and the Group Head of Emerging Business and FIC of the HKEX, Ms Glenda So.

Hong Kong Government Press Release

28th March 2023 – (Hong Kong)  The Government and the Insurance Authority (IA) today welcomed the issuance of insurance-linked securities (ILS) in the form of a catastrophe bond by the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) in Hong Kong with a size of US$350 million (equivalent to about HK$2.75 billion), offering protection against losses related to earthquake risks in Chile over the next three years.
“Hong Kong is driven towards development into a leading international risk management centre. This is the fourth issuance, as well as the inaugural listing, of ILS in Hong Kong. It bears testament to Hong Kong’s position as an international financial centre and the vibrant development of the Hong Kong insurance industry. Against the backdrop of a rising trend of catastrophic events caused by climate change, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government is committed to supporting the Hong Kong insurance sector in offering a greater variety of comprehensive products and solutions to assist our country and global market players for better management of relevant risks,” said the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan.
 To mark the inaugural listing of ILS, a gong-strike ceremony was held at the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) today with the presence of representatives from the World Bank, the HKSAR Government and the IA.  
 Encouraged by the multilateral collaborative efforts achieved through cross-agency partnerships both locally and internationally and built upon the support of the Central People’s Government for Hong Kong as a catastrophe bond issuing platform, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, said at the ceremony, “As set out in the Development Roadmap for the Insurance Sector in Hong Kong published by the Government in December last year, we endeavour to be a facilitator in the national ‘Dual Circulation’ strategy through enhancing connectivity with the Mainland and international markets. Leveraging the dedicated regulatory regime and a pilot grant scheme rolled out early in 2021, we hope to attract more issuing institutions and talents for building up a vibrant ILS ecosystem in Hong Kong. Today’s issuance and listing exactly demonstrate Hong Kong’s unique bridging role.”
 “The decision by a prominent international body like the World Bank to partner with Hong Kong marks an important milestone in our journey of striving to become a vibrant ILS hub, while enhancing public awareness on how alternative risk transfer tools could supplement underwriting capacity to increase financial inclusiveness and close protection gaps,” said the Chairman of the IA, Mr Stephen Yiu.
“This Chile Catastrophe Bond is an example of how countries are putting in place financial safety nets to mitigate the potentially disruptive economic impacts of earthquakes,” said the Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank, Mr Jorge Familiar. “We are pleased to partner with the Hong Kong Insurance Authority and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in their efforts to evolve the insurance-linked securities market, which strengthens the resilience of World Bank members to natural disasters.”