After the chastening experiences of the past couple of years, banking professionals and consumers can find encouragement in the fact that much talk within the sector is now about growth, new paradigms and achieving the right balance between regulation and innovation.
That is clearly reflected in the themes and topics to be discussed at the annual conference organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB). The event, on November 26 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, has been titled "Ride on the Global Recovery - The Strategies for 2010", to signify returning optimism while pointing to the evident need for change.
Noting that the past 12 months had been "perhaps the most challenging and difficult in the history of the financial markets", Carrie Leung Ka-lai, HKIB chief executive, said the main objective was to address issues directly relevant to the local banking community.
Too many conferences were "very macro", with speakers advancing academic theories and speculating on long-term economic policy. Now it was important to discuss current problems, immediate prospects and ways in which altered regulations were likely to affect day-to-day operations.
"This conference is quite different because we will talk about shorter-term strategies and how bankers should react to local issues in the next year," Leung said. "Bank management teams have gone through a period of ensuring survival. They are now figuring out how to sustain their business in a new environment and where to look for growth."
With this in mind, the conference was designed to be "macro, but not remote". The agenda would include presentations by industry heavyweights, regulators, research houses and external experts to cover different levels and dimensions. Keynote speeches would deal with topics such as Hong Kong's competitive edge as China's international financial centre, developing renminbi business and the regulatory response to the financial crisis.
There would also be panel discussions or talks on themes such as establishing priorities for 2010 and enhancing retail banking performance.
The afternoon session would feature four breakout sessions catering to distinct areas of specialist interest. These would centre on business innovation and people strategies; corporate banking; operations and information systems; and the new landscape for wealth