Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Declaration on the Method of Selection for the Finance and Financial Services Functional Constituencies in the 2016 HKSAR Legislative Council Election

The electoral base of the Finance and Financial Services sectors in the Legislative Council (“Legco”) is currently confined to corporate and institutional votes only. More than 200,000 professionals who work in the financial industries are represented by less than 700 voters, which is a mere 0.35% of the population. Such a narrow electoral base calls the representativeness of the relevant lawmakers into question. Financier Conscience is proposing to the HKSAR Government the following methods of selection for the above two Legco functional constituencies in 2016:

1. In accordance with Annex II of the Basic Law of Hong Kong (“Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Its Voting Procedures”), the corporate and institutional votes of the Finance and Financial Services functional constituencies shall be fully replaced by individual votes in 2016. The detailed methods are as follows:

a. Eligible voters for the Finance functional constituency should consist of all existing employees under the Hong Kong Monetary Authority Register of Securities Staff of Authorized Institutions, as opposed to currently only banks, restricted license banks and deposit-taking companies under Chapter 155 of the Banking Ordinance.

b. Eligible voters for the Financial Services functional constituency should consist of all Responsible Officers and Licensed Representatives under the Securities and Futures Commission Public Register of Licensed Persons & Registered Institutions, as opposed to currently only Exchange Participants and members of the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society entitled to vote at general meetings of the Society.
c. Any candidate nominated by 100 or more eligible voters from the respective sector should be qualified to run for the election. It is in the industry best interest that any qualified personnel with abilities and dedication to serve the industry are allowed to run as candidate in the election.

2. The shift from corporate votes to individual votes in 2016 is only the first step. We believe such expansion of the electoral base is an important step towards universal suffrage in the Legco election. The proposed change will help to raise the legitimacy and representativeness of those who are elected. It is also in accordance with the principle of achieving universal suffrage in a gradual and orderly progress as stipulated in the Basic Law. Our ultimate goal is to completely abolish the functional constituency system and have all Legco seats returned from geographical constituencies under one-person-one-vote. This is what we believe the truly universal and equal electoral system should be.

We strongly believe a universal and equal election system can help maintain the cultural diversity and innovativeness of Hong Kong under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework. This will not only strengthen Hong Kong’s status as a global financial, trade, and commercial center but it can also be beneficial to the long-term development of China.

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