On 2 July 2017, the People’s Bank of China and the Hong Kong Monitory Authority released a joint announcement on the official launch of the mutual access scheme between the bond markets in Hong Kong and the Mainland (“Bond Connect”) starting 3 July 2017. Acting as the legal adviser to China Foreign Exchange Trade System & National Interbank Funding Center (CFETS), King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) had the honour of assisting with the successful launch of Bond Connect.
The high-profile Bond Connect is another major achievement in the opening-up of China’s inter-bank bond market, and it is also an important initiative led by the central government to promote closer cooperation between the Mainland and Hong Kong for its continued support over Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability. Bond Connect is conducive to further enhancing Hong Kong’s role as an international financial center as a gateway for broaden foreign investment channels in the promotion of the continued opening-up of China’s financial market. Bond Connect is another landmark development to further promote market demand for RMB as an international reserve currency, and speed up the internationalization of RMB.
The concept of Bond Connect was initially put forward in January 2016 following the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect. Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) has incorporated Bond Connect into its strategic planning for 2016-2018 and regarded it as an important part of its mutual access strategies for the future. On 1 March 2017, HKEx disclosed the road map of “Starting with northbound trading and then southbound” for the first time. On 15 March, Premier Li Keqiang expressed a plan for the pilot launch of Bond Connect this year. Bond Connect starts with the opening up of a northbound trading, that is, through Hong Kong and the Mainland infrastructure agencies, offshore investors from Hong Kong and other countries and regions may have direct access to the mainland inter-bank bond market, custody, settlement and other aspects of the interconnection scheme. Without changing their existing trading habits, international investors can have a fast track and direct access to the China interbank bond market. Southbound trading will be explored at a later stage, that is, through the infrastructure agencies under the interconnection scheme, for Chinese domestic investors to access the Hong Kong bond market.
金杜中国及香港团队在“债券通”项目中通力协作，为交易中心提供了全方位、高质量的法律服务，包括就交易中心与港交所及境外电子交易平台就“债券通”达成的合作提供全程法律服务。金杜负责该项目的跨境团队负责合伙人是中国办公室王军、苏萌，律师团队包括贾之航和席索迪，以及香港办公室马绍基(Richard Mazzochi)、范凯敦(Hayden Flinn)和萧乃莹。
KWM PRC and Hong Kong teams collaborated seamlessly in the Bond Connect project, providing CFETS with all-around and high quality legal services, including assisting CFETS on its cooperation with HKEx and overseas electronic trading platform over Bond Connect. The KWM cross-border team was led by partner Jack Wang and Molly Su in our Shanghai office, team members include Jia Zhihang and Xi Suodi, and Richard Mazzochi, Hayden Flinnand Minny Siu from our Hong Kong office.
Jack Wang commented, “On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the reunification of Hong Kong, KWM was honored to assist with the milestone launch of Bond Connect. With the development of China’s economy, we’ve witnessed several times epoch-making achievements of China’s financial and capital market, and we are proud to have participated and contributed our professional services. Leveraging our local roots and global platform, we always focus on the future and being at the forefront of the industry.”