Hong Kong to name Eddie Yue as next monetary authority chief: Report

A security guard stands outside the Hong Kong Monetary Authority headquarters in Hong Kong. The main task for 54-year-old Eddie Yue will be defending the Hong Kong dollar's peg to the greenback. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Eddie Yue will be named the next chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), succeeding Norman Chan, the South China Morning Post reported.

Yue, a deputy at the central bank who oversees reserves management, will take over after Mr Chan retires at the end of September, the newspaper reported citing unnamed government sources. Yue will take charge of the city's HK$4 trillion (S$698.34 billion) exchange fund and oversight of the peg to the dollar.

A spokesman for the office of Financial Secretary Paul Chan, responsible for the appointment, declined to comment on the report. The announcement is expected to come on Thursday (July 25), the SCMP said.

The main task for 54-year-old Yue will be defending the Hong Kong dollar's peg to the greenback, which has underpinned stability in the city since 1983. The importance of the peg is being highlighted now as protests against a proposed extradition bill intensify in the most serious political crisis since the return to Chinese rule.

The new HKMA chief is set to be among the world's best-paid central bankers, despite having little role in setting interest rates. Formal tasks include formulating banking policies and managing the city's reserve fund. Yet it's the currency peg that is the highest priority, with chief executives representing the city's iron commitment to maintaining the level. The authorities have intervened over the years to defend it.

Yue, the most experienced deputy to Mr Chan, started his career in civil service in 1986 after graduating from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He joined the HKMA as a senior manager in 1993, the year it was established. He became a deputy chief executive in 2007, helping Chan steer Hong Kong through the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

An advocate of the exchange fund's long-term growth portfolio, investing into alternative assets such as private equity and real estate, Yue has helped the fund deliver an annualized internal rate of return of 12.9 per cent since 2009.

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