Charles Li, chief executive of Hong Kong's stock exchange operator, is FinanceAsia's Capital Markets Person of the Year for 2017.
The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing CEO was announced as the winner at our annual awards dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong on Wednesday night. There were also awards for Tencent's Pony Ma, the first recipient of FinanceAsia's Visionary CEO prize, and for Stuart Gulliver, the outgoing CEO of HSBC, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Investors, businesspeople and bankers from as far away as Sri Lanka and Mongolia also attended the dinner to receive previously announced awards.
With a history of more than 20 years, FinanceAsia recognises exceptionally talented individuals and companies in the capital markets across Asia Pacific, prompting innovation, creativity and best governance standard among industry participants.
Li was chosen as person of the year for his dedication to promoting Hong Kong as the gateway to China’s capital markets. Li played a pivotal role in the development of Stock and Bond Connect programmes, in a move to facilitate free capital flows between China and overseas investors vie HKEx.
Collecting the award on Li's behalf, John Killian, chief financial officer of HKEx, said: "Charles said the award is a validation of all the hard work and efforts that he and the HKEx team had put in over the years."
Ma has built Tencent into China’s largest internet company. Under his leadership, the Shenzhen-based technology company has launched a number of blockbuster products – including QQ and WeChat – that have been adopted widely. At a strategic level, he showed business acumen in investing in growth markets, such as insurance and artificial intelligence, through well-timed and sensibly structured acquisitions and joint ventures.
Collecting the award on behalf of Ma, Stella Lui, investor relations director at Tencent, said: "The award reflects strength of our company which is built by out management and staff. It is also a reflection of our connection strategy to deliver better services and products to our user, as well as maximising shareholder value."
Last but not least, Gulliver is honoured for his leadership and dedication to keeping HSBC ahead of competition. Gulliver joined the bank’s elite international officer programme in 1980 and rose through the ranks. Since taking the helm as HSBC CEO in January 2011, Gulliver has led Europe’s largest lender through a series of legal storms in the US and Europe, while building its presence in a notoriously competitive China market. Despite a low-interest-rate environment and legal battles, the bank has paid out more than $60 billion of dividends since the beginning of 2011.
On behalf of Stuart Gulliver, Helen Wong, HSBC's CEO for Greater China, shared a message from him: "I am very honoured to be recognised with an award previously received by such eminent figures as Pan Gongsheng, Joe Tsai and Frank Sixt."
"I am proud that our efforts to change and strengthen HSBC – and to focus its strategy on growth in Asia – have earned this accolade," Wong said quoting Gulliver's message.
Daniel Flatt, editorial director of Haymarket Financial Media, said: "Winners of the achievement awards paved the way in their respective markets and fought battles passionately, and genuinely made a difference."
“We are honoured to host the region’s financial and business elite,” Alison Tudor-Ackroyd, managing editor of FinanceAsia, said on stage at the dinner. “For over two decades, FinanceAsia has analysed Asian capital markets for an audience of investors’ hungry to capture their part of the region’s growth story.
“The winners tonight created long-lasting value for their shareholders,” Tudor-Ackroyd added.
Investors and dealmakers attending the dinner included Lei Zhang, founder of Hillhouse Capital, a $35 billion China-focused hedge fund, John Killian, chief financial officer of HKEx and Helen Wong, HSBC’s chief executive for Greater China.
This article has been corrected to say HSBC has paid out more than $60 billion of dividends since the beginning of 2011.