Elliott Is First Major Fund To Flee Hong Kong After Its China Annexation
With China having effectively taken over Hong Kong without the bought and paid for Western media as much as uttering a peep (compare China’s annexation of Hong Kong to the “democratic media” reaction to Russia’s takeover of Crimea) and crushing any semblance of even optical independence, it was only a matter of time before western financial companies left with no intention of ever coming back. Today, that’s precisely what happened when one of the most respected hedge funds in the world, led by noted conservative billionaire Paul Singer, Elliott Management announced that it was closing its Hong Kong office, becoming one of the first large financial institutions to shutter operations in the territory since it entered a period of civil unrest and political tension in 2019. And now that the example has been set, we expect a veritable exodus of western financial firms out of the now defacto annexed territory.
Elliott, which was founded in 1977 and has had a presence in Hong Kong for 15 years, said It would move staff based in Hong Kong to its offices in London and Tokyo, which will become its only base in Asia.
As the FT first reported, a memo sent to investors said: “Consistent with Elliott’s longer term planning processes, we will be closing down trading and investment activities in the Hong Kong office and, effective January 1, 2021, transferring principal responsibility for existing Asian (ex-Japan) investment positions and for new situational trading and investments in Asia to the London office.”
Elliott’s departure comes six months after China effectively annexed Hong Kong amid an unprecedented lack of condemnation by the free, independent and bought by China press, when Beijing imposed national security laws on Hong Kong, increasing its power over the territory.
Elliott is just the first: the Financial Times said it had contacted other funds which described plans to shift individual staff or parts of their operations to other cities in Asia, citing concerns that the business environment in Hong Kong is becoming increasingly unpredictable
The new Chinese regime in Hong Kong, which targets subversion of state power or “interference” by foreign countries, has raised concerns about Hong Kong’s future as a global financial centre. This includes fears the clampdown could lead to a flight of capital and talent to rival Asian business hubs in Singapore and Tokyo.
Tue, 01/19/2021 – 17:30