Getting to Know Our Honorary Fellow – Dr Au King Lun, MH

Published on 17 August 2023

Dr Au King Lun was awarded the HKSI Institute Honorary Fellowship in 2022 for his remarkable contributions and distinguished service in the development of Hong Kong’s financial services industry and to the HKSI Institute. His leadership and active Board service as HKSI Institute Chairman in the earlier years established a solid foundation that still benefits the Institute today. Dr Au is the Executive Director of Financial Services Development Council (FSDC).

Q: The financial services community and industry in Hong Kong are known for their dynamic and lively environment with abundant opportunities. What aspect of this vibrant setting drives and motivates you?

A: I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time when I returned from overseas to Hong Kong at the end of 1992. The listing of the first H-share, Tsingtao Brewery, on the HKEX in 1993 marked the beginning of Hong Kong’s exciting journey as an International Financial Centre on the back of Mainland China’s phenomenal economic growth. While it certainly has not been plain sailing, the financial services industry in Hong Kong has demonstrated proven ability to overcome adversity with determination and creativity.

Thanks to the dynamism of the market, I have been given many opportunities to learn and gain new knowledge and experience in a variety of roles, including the honour of being the Chairman of HKSI Institute from 2006 to 2008.

With Mainland China now the world’s second largest economy, the opportunities ahead for Hong Kong to expand its global influence as a super-connector are far more abundant and exciting than the past 30 years!

Q: What do you consider to be the most significant challenges facing the financial services industry today, and how do you think they can be addressed?

A: With the financial services sector being the backbone of the world economy, there will always be challenges that are of global in nature. The World Economic Forum Report 2023 highlights that six of the topmost severe risks in the next 10 years are related directly to climate change. The challenge for the global financial services industry is to find ways to make sustainable finance mainstream with practical standards.

While the world is becoming multipolar, I believe Hong Kong has the agility to adapt to the changes and expand our global network to identify new growth opportunities. With its 90 million population and gross domestic product (GDP) the size of Canada, the Greater Bay Area provides Hong Kong a bedrock foundation to strive for global leadership in multiple fields, e.g. Virtual/Digital Assets, Fintech and Wealth Management etc.

Q: How does your current role at the FSDC compare to your illustrious career in the fund and asset management sector with some of the biggest firms in the industry?   

A: The FSDC is a high-level, cross-sectoral advisory body setup by the HKSAR Government in 2013 to help map out the strategic development direction for the financial services industry in Hong Kong. In addition, it has mandates for market promotion and human capital development.

It was an honour for me to take over the role of Executive Director from my predecessor Mr Christopher Hui when he became the Secretary for Financial Services and The Treasury in 2020. Given the broad mandate of FSDC, I find myself learning new knowledge constantly like I was back in my university days!

It is also very satisfying to make many new friends both at home and abroad. The main difference between my role at the FSDC and my previous career in the private sector is that there is no profit and loss (P&L) pressure!

Q: What values are most important to you as a leader?

A: I have learnt from experience over the years that a leader in an organisation is similar to that of a conductor to an orchestra. A successful musical performance from an orchestra requires teamwork, collaboration, discipline, role clarity and execution under the guidance of its conductor.

In the financial services industry, what makes it unique is the importance of integrity, for we are dealing with the hard-earned savings of other people day in day out.

Hence, the key attributes for a successful leader in our industry are integrity, vision and empathy.

Q: How HKSI Institute could play a key role in supporting the financial services industry?

A: I believe the Institute was the first cross-sectoral professional body for the financial services industry in Hong Kong. I am delighted to note that the Institute has kept up with the fast-changing pace of the industry with its timely professional development programmes and seminars in addition to the ongoing provision of SFC licensing examinations.

The Institute has also been very active in promoting talent development through case competitions and networking events. I would like to take this opportunity to applaud and congratulate the Institute for its excellent contributions towards the success of Hong Kong as an international financial centre.