Hong Kong’s newly established $8 billion investment arm, the Hong Kong Investment Corporation (HKIC), appointed private market investment veteran Clara Chan Ka-chai as its inaugural chief executive officer (CEO), effective October 9.
The appointment came one year after Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee announced the establishment of HKIC, which is widely seen as Hong Kong's version of Singapore state-owned investor Temasek.
Chan was most recently the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) executive director.
She was HKMA’s $508 billion Exchange Fund’s private markets chief investment officer (CIO) from 2018 to 2020.
Chan will be HKIC’s CEO for a three-year term and will also join its 12-member board of directors.
She will lead HKIC to promote the development of target industries through strategic investments, boosting the long-term competitiveness and economic vitality of Hong Kong while generating an investment return.
“Ms Chan has solid knowledge and experience in the financial markets, particularly investment in venture capital and private equity,” Hong Kong Financial Secretary and chairman of the HKIC board Paul Chan said in an announcement on October 4.
“She has good acumen and is well versed in the developments in the Hong Kong and mainland markets as well as the international market. She has also developed an extensive network and close business relationships in the industry.”
AsianInvestor reported on September 24 that HKIC was close to appointing its first CEO, with new investments expected to follow by year-end at the earliest, after the CEO assumed office.
A barrister-turned-public institution official, Clara Chan joined Hong Kong's de facto central bank, HKMA, in 2010 as a manager in the reserves management department.
She was named private markets CIO of the now $508 billion Exchange Fund in 2018 and was promoted to executive director, monetary management in 2020.
Before joining HKMA, Clara Chan was an administrative officer in the Hong Kong SAR Government from 2004 to 2010, covering home affairs, transport, and financial services.
Clara Chan will leave her post at HKMA on October 9.
“Since joining the HKMA in 2010, Clara has spearheaded the private markets team to achieve remarkable results for the Exchange Fund Investment Office,” HKMA Chief Executive Eddie Yue said in a statement on October 4.
“She has also made dedicated efforts to maintain the financial and monetary stability of Hong Kong and the soundness of our stored value facilities and retail payment systems.”
Following her departure, Daryl Ho, executive director, banking policy will succeed Clara Chan in overseeing the operation of the monetary management department.
Donald Chen, executive director, corporate services will take over from Ho as executive director, banking policy.
Effective dates of the two appointments will be confirmed in due course.
The HKMA will arrange open recruitment for the post of executive director (corporate services), and a separate announcement will be made after completion of the recruitment process, it said in the statement.
PRIVATE MARKET FOCUS
HKIC’s global CEO recruitment effort concluded after Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee announced the establishment of HKIC in his policy address in October 2022.
The initial assets allocated to the corporation are HK$62 billion ($7.9 billion), consisting of the HK$22 billion Hong Kong Growth Portfolio (HKGP), the HK$5 billion Greater Bay Area Investment Fund, the HK$5 billion Strategic Tech Fund, and the newly established HK$30 billion Co-Investment Fund.
Its 12-strong board of directors was formed in February 2023. Members include government financial services officials, HKMA executives, Hong Kong business tycoon Victor Fung, economist and former president of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Lawrence Lau, lawyer James Lin, and former Securities and Futures Commission chairman Carlson Tong.
HKMA has been rendering support on investment, logistics, and operational matters of HKIC at the initial stage, including assisting the board to make decisions on investment projects.
So far, HKIC has received over 100 proposals from venture capital funds in artificial intelligence, fintech, Web3 and more, as well as asset management companies across Hong Kong, mainland China, and overseas markets.
It will focus on private market investments to drive the city’s development in fintech, AI, biotech, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and possibly green finance in the future.