finance industry

Keeping the bankers sweet: Hong Kong regulators send candy to quarantined financiers

Reuters
Keeping the bankers sweet: Hong Kong regulators send candy to quarantined financiers

NO ENTRY. A sign is seen inside a quarantine hotel in Hong Kong, August 30, 2021.

Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Jet-setting banking executives stuck in Hong Kong's quarantine program receive confectionery from senior regulators as a morale booster

HONG KONG – You know it’s going to be a long haul when the regulator starts sending you candy.

Jet-setting banking executives stuck in Hong Kong’s weeks-long quarantine program have received confectionery from senior regulators as a morale booster during their isolation.

“From their own pockets, Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) senior executives sent confectioneries to a handful of executives under quarantine as a token of personal regard,” an HKMA spokesperson said on Tuesday, December 14.

The gesture was earlier reported by local Hong Kong media. The banking regulator denied that the HKMA had a “confectionery program.”

Reuters could not determine if the sweet treats helped lift the bankers’ spirits.

Hong Kong’s tough quarantine regime has helped it escape the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic but it has been a burden for residents of Asia’s top financial hub and the international banks based there.

Last month an industry group warned that the restrictions could undermine Hong Kong’s status as a financial center.

Currently, residents traveling back to Hong Kong from most places outside mainland China must undergo three weeks of quarantine at a government-approved hotel which they must pay for themselves.

Non-Hong Kong residents from many countries cannot enter.

The territory’s government says their priority is allowing quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and mainland China – which also has a zero-COVID-19 policy – and they hope to open this border gradually in the coming months.

Several investment banks in Hong Kong including JPMorgan and UBS have offered staff cash payments to cover quarantine costs on returning from a visit home.

In a circular published late Tuesday, Hong Kong’s markets watchdog the Securities and Futures Commission set out eligibility criteria and pre-registration procedures for executives of the asset managers and brokers it regulates to travel to neighboring Guangdong province without undergoing quarantine.

Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan, got an exemption from quarantine when he visited Hong Kong last month. – Rappler.com

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