Hedge Funds and New Hong Kong

As I discussed last week, China’s proposed security law for Hong Kong would be a major blow. Follow-on discussions of potential results of the implementation of such a law really span quite a bit of ground. On the “very likely” side of things, Hong Kong is currently home to over 400 hedge funds, managing north of $90 billion US (more than the hedge funds of Australia, Singapore, and Japan, combined). There’s a very real probability that many, if not most, of those funds would relocate in such a situation. Singapore could be a big winner in this scenario. At the other end of the likeliness spectrum: a New Hong Kong, in the UK. But it may not be as crazy as it sounds. Obviously, Hong Kong and Britain have deep ties. And with the UK exit from the EU, they desperately need some way to remain a global player. Opening up some sort of free-trade city, to act as a bridge between Europe and Asia, might be the perfect play for the UK. And while he didn’t go that far, Boris Johnson took a huge step in this direction. At present, there are around 350k British Overseas Passport holders in Hong Kong — but there are another 2.5 million people eligible for them in Hong Kong — and Boris Johnson has offered 12 month visas to the lot of them, if the law comes into effect. Now, realistically, there would need to be something a lot bigger than this to get most of those people to relocate to the UK, let alone found a New Hong Kong; but even if that doesn’t happen, just providing a safe place for those 3 million people to land for a year whilst they figure out the new world, post any such Beijing law, would be a huge move for the UK.

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