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Asian Financial Forum (AFF) returns to explore collaborations




The 17th Asian Financial Forum 2024 (AFF), co-organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), is set to take place on 24 and 25 January 2024 (Wednesday and Thursday) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). This year’s AFF, themed Multilateral Cooperation for a Shared Tomorrow, will be the first significant financial and business event in the region this year, bringing together over a hundred speakers, influential figures in the financial industry, global policymakers and business leaders. Speakers will thoroughly analyse the global economic outlook, actively promote collaboration in accordance with the policies of national and HKSAR governments, explore sustainable economic development models and collectively identify the abundant opportunities for multilateral cooperation. The Forum is expected to draw over 3,000 elite professionals from financial and business sectors, to facilitate fruitful exchanges and strengthen ties among industry leaders.

Luanne Lim, Chairperson of the AFF 2024 Steering Committee and HSBC’s Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong, said: “The year 2024 is expected to be characterised by a slowdown in inflation and potential rate cuts. The focus of markets will be on the timing and extent of policy easing, as well as elections in multiple countries and regions. In these complex times, the Asian Financial Forum serves as a valuable platform for exchanging diverse perspectives and supporting multilateral cooperation. The collective wisdom of experts speaking at the AFF will give the participants a deeper understanding, enabling them to make well-informed decisions in the year ahead.”

Dr Patrick Lau, Deputy Executive Director, HKTDC, said: “Amidst global uncertainties and geopolitical tensions, accompanied by various challenges, new market opportunities and partners are emerging. To build a sustainable and inclusive development model, close communication and cooperation among nations are crucial. With the theme Multilateral Cooperation for a Shared Tomorrow, this year’s AFF will explore economic policies and multilateral cooperation opportunities among governments and governments (G2G), governments and businesses (G2B) and businesses and businesses (B2B) from multiple angles. It will also address a range of timely market-related issues, further promoting sustainable development and showcasing the advantages of Hong Kong as an international financial centre.”

This year’s Forum will encompass diverse events, including over 40 thematic discussions, policy dialogue, keynote luncheons and breakfast panel, and workshops. These sessions will explore pressing topics such as the global economic outlook, opportunities in Mainland China, investment prospects, green finance, financial technology and interest-rate trends. Their objective is to provide participants with valuable insights into internationally relevant issues and global economic development trends. These events will boost Hong Kong’s ties with the international community, fostering greater connections and generating more business opportunities.


ASEAN, Middle East market opportunities take centre stage as thematic discussions expand

ASEAN and the Middle East, with their considerable economic potential, hold crucial position in driving global multilateral cooperation. This year’s Forum has garnered enthusiastic responses, and a surge in participation from ASEAN, the Middle East and other parts of the globe is expected. To facilitate broader discussions and embrace sustainable economic development, the Plenary Sessions have been expanded from one to two, enabling financial leaders from ASEAN, the Middle East and other regions to convene and deliberate on future fiscal policy trends. Topics of significant focus will include the opportunities in the mainland, ASEAN and the Middle East.

On the first day of the AFF (24 January), Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the HKSAR, will preside over two Plenary Sessions. At the morning Plenary esteemed speakers including Ali bin Ahmad Alkuwari, Minister of Finance of Qatar; Julapun Amornvivat, Deputy Minister of Finance of Thailand; Mohamed Maait, Minister of Finance of Egypt; and Marko Primorac, Minister of Finance of Croatia, will share their countries’ respective outlooks on financial policies. At the afternoon Plenary, distinguished speakers including Muhammad Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank; Prof Hala Elsaid, Minister of Planning and Economic Development of Egypt; Alexandra Jour-Schroeder, Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union at the European Commission; Suahasil Nazara Vice Minister of Finance, Indonesia and Dilma Rousseff, President of New Development Bank, will analyse the influence of multilateral cooperation on regional economic development, financial crises and sustainable economic growth.

On the same day Eddie Yue, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, will host the Policy Dialogue where esteemed representatives from the Asian Development Bank, Central Bank of Mongolia, Deutsche Bundesbank, Dubai Financial Services Authority, and International Monetary Fund will convene under the theme Towards International Economic and Financial Cooperation to exchange perspectives on global monetary policies.

Global leaders and Nobel laureates take the stage at keynote luncheon sessions


Another noteworthy aspect of the Forum will be two Keynote Luncheons featuring esteemed guests. Prof Jeffrey D Sachs, President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and Prof Douglas W Diamond, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences in 2022 and Merton H Miller, Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, have been invited to deliver insightful speeches. Prof Sachs will delve into the topic of sustainable development, while Prof Diamond will discuss the future trajectory of United States Federal Reserve interest rate moves and the risks associated with economic development.

Dialogue with Bob Prince added as a special session

An additional session, Dialogue with Bob Prince, has been added to this year’s AFF on the second day. Mr Prince, Co-Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, will appear to share valuable investment insights and provide perspectives on the importance of multilateral cooperation.

Staying ahead of market trends with Stewarding China’s New Chapter and CIO Insights

In response to dynamic market opportunities and evolving industry trends, this year’s AFF will introduce Stewarding China’s New Chapter and CIO Insights, closely aligned with market conditions. The session Stewarding China’s New Chapter seeks to explore the mainland market potential and analyse collaborative prospects with other regions, underscoring the role and advantages of Hong Kong. CIO Insights will bring together chief investment officers from renowned international institutions to share unique perspectives on the investment landscape within the current macroeconomic environment. The HKTDC and Knowledge Partner PwC will also present the findings of a joint survey on the industry’s views and outlook on artificial intelligence. The results of this survey will be announced on the first day of the Forum.


The highly anticipated Global Economic Outlook, Global Spectrum, Dialogues for Tomorrow, and Fireside Chat sessions will return, covering topics such as asset and wealth management, insurance and risk management, multilateral capital market cooperation, food technology and supply chain security, financial technology, RMB internationalisation, financial technology, Web 3 and virtual assets, impact investing, and financial cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and Islamic finance. Prominent speakers include Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Chairman of Société Générale; Fang Feng-lei, Founder and Chairman of HOPU Investments; Jenny Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Franklin Templeton; Nicolas Moreau, Global Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Asset Management; Thomas Tsao, Co-Founder of Gobi Partners; Anil Wadhwani, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential plc etc.

AFF Deal-making and exhibition connect investors and start-ups, driving innovation

To facilitate more substantial cooperation, the HKTDC and Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (HKVCA) are co-organising the AFF Deal-making. This platform enables participants to engage in one-on-one meetings, connecting them with funds and investment projects from around the world. The event will focus on key industries such as financial technology, environment, energy and clean technology, medical technology, deep technology and consumer goods. This year’s AFF Deal-making is expected to attract about 200 investors and approximately 400 projects. Following the conclusion of the Forum, participants can utilize online matching services for virtual meetings until 30 January (Tuesday) to continue exploring key opportunities in different fields.

The Forum continues to feature exhibition zones including Fintech Showcase, Fintech HK Startup Salon, the InnoVenture Salon and Global Investment Zone to introduce cutting-edge applications of financial technology and showcase future unicorn innovation concepts. The exhibition zones are expected to bring together over 140 local and global exhibitors, international financial institutions, technology companies, start-ups, investment promotion agencies and sponsors, including Knowledge Partner PwC, HSBC, Bank of China, Standard Chartered Bank, UBS, China International Capital Corporation (CICC), Huatai International, Cyberport and more.

The Global Investment Zone includes participation from countries such as Canada, Dubai, Egypt, Finland, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mainland China, Malaysia, Mauritius, Portugal and Spain. Investment promotion agencies from these countries will introduce local investment environments and potential projects on-site. The InnoVenture Salon is dedicated to supporting start-up development and provides a platform for more than 100 start-ups to connect with international investors and potential partners, of which 60 fintech start-ups from Hong Kong, Australia, Austria, France, Japan, Korea, the Mainland, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam under the FintechHK Startup Salon will showcase innovative concepts in areas such as AI, blockchain, insurtech, payment technology, regulatory technology, and wealthtech.


Exclusive offers for AFF participants

As the first major financial and business event in the region for the year, the AFF is committed to telling the good story of Hong Kong and promoting large-scale events or exhibitions. Organisers have arranged experiential activities for overseas participants, including one-time privileged access to the airport lounge, free admission to the Hong Kong Palace Museum, 1-hour night tour of Hong Kong aboard an open-top Big Bus or Hong Kong’s iconic Aqua Luna red-sail junk boat arranged by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Furthermore, participation in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2024, dining discounts and guided tours by the Lan Kwai Fong Group, dining discounts at Harbour City and Times Square, and discounted passes for Hong Kong attractions through Klook will be available. These initiatives aim to provide overseas visitors with a firsthand experience of the vibrant colours, rich culture and dynamic lifestyle that Hong Kong has to offer.

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How to identify authenticity in crypto influencer channels




Modern brands stake on influencer marketing, with 76% of users making a purchase after seeing a product on social media.The cryptocurrency industry is no exception to this trend. However, promoting crypto products through influencer marketing can be particularly challenging. Crypto influencers pose a significant risk to a brand’s reputation and ROI due to rampant scams. Approximately 80% of channels provide fake statistics, including followers counts and engagement metrics. Additionally, this niche is characterized by high CPMs, which can increase the risk of financial loss for brands.

In this article Nadia Bubennnikova, Head of agency Famesters, will explore the most important things to look for in crypto channels to find the perfect match for influencer marketing collaborations.



There are several levels related to this point.




Analyze approximately 10 of the channel’s latest videos, looking through the comments to ensure they are not purchased from dubious sources. For example, such comments as “Yes sir, great video!”; “Thanks!”; “Love you man!”; “Quality content”, and others most certainly are bot-generated and should be avoided.

Just to compare: 


Don’t rush to conclude that you’ve discovered the perfect crypto channel just because you’ve come across some logical comments that align with the video’s topic. This may seem controversial, but it’s important to dive deeper. When you encounter a channel with logical comments, ensure that they are unique and not duplicated under the description box. Some creators are smarter than just buying comments from the first link that Google shows you when you search “buy YouTube comments”. They generate topics, provide multiple examples, or upload lists of examples, all produced by AI. You can either manually review the comments or use a script to parse all the YouTube comments into an Excel file. Then, add a formula to highlight any duplicates.


It is also a must to check the names of the profiles that leave the comments: most of the bot-generated comments are easy to track: they will all have the usernames made of random symbols and numbers, random first and last name combinations, “Habibi”, etc. No profile pictures on all comments is also a red flag.




Another important factor to consider when assessing comment authenticity is the posting date. If all the comments were posted on the same day, it’s likely that the traffic was purchased.


2. Average views number per video

This is indeed one of the key metrics to consider when selecting an influencer for collaboration, regardless of the product type. What specific factors should we focus on?

First & foremost: the views dynamics on the channel. The most desirable type of YouTube channel in terms of views is one that maintains stable viewership across all of its videos. This stability serves as proof of an active and loyal audience genuinely interested in the creator’s content, unlike channels where views vary significantly from one video to another.

Many unauthentic crypto channels not only buy YouTube comments but also invest in increasing video views to create the impression of stability. So, what exactly should we look at in terms of views? Firstly, calculate the average number of views based on the ten latest videos. Then, compare this figure to the views of the most recent videos posted within the past week. If you notice that these new videos have nearly the same number of views as those posted a month or two ago, it’s a clear red flag. Typically, a YouTube channel experiences lower views on new videos, with the number increasing organically each day as the audience engages with the content. If you see a video posted just three days ago already garnering 30k views, matching the total views of older videos, it’s a sign of fraudulent traffic purchased to create the illusion of view stability.



3. Influencer’s channel statistics

The primary statistics of interest are region and demographic split, and sometimes the device types of the viewers.


When reviewing the shared statistics, the first step is to request a video screencast instead of a simple screenshot. This is because it takes more time to organically edit a video than a screenshot, making it harder to manipulate the statistics. If the creator refuses, step two (if only screenshots are provided) is to download them and check the file’s properties on your computer. Look for details such as whether it was created with Adobe Photoshop or the color profile, typically Adobe RGB, to determine if the screenshot has been edited.


After confirming the authenticity of the stats screenshot, it’s crucial to analyze the data. For instance, if you’re examining a channel conducted in Spanish with all videos filmed in the same language, it would raise concerns to find a significant audience from countries like India or Turkey. This discrepancy, where the audience doesn’t align with regions known for speaking the language, is a red flag.

If we’re considering an English-language crypto channel, it typically suggests an international audience, as English’s global use for quality educational content on niche topics like crypto. However, certain considerations apply. For instance, if an English-speaking channel shows a significant percentage of Polish viewers (15% to 30%) without any mention of the Polish language, it could indicate fake followers and views. However, if the channel’s creator is Polish, occasionally posts videos in Polish alongside English, and receives Polish comments, it’s important not to rush to conclusions.


Example of statistics


Wrapping up

These are the main factors to consider when selecting an influencer to promote your crypto product. Once you’ve launched the campaign, there are also some markers to show which creators did bring the authentic traffic and which used some tools to create the illusion of an active and engaged audience. While this may seem obvious, it’s still worth mentioning. After the video is posted, allow 5-7 days for it to accumulate a basic number of views, then check performance metrics such as views, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), signups, and conversion rate (CR) from clicks to signups.

If you overlooked some red flags when selecting crypto channels for your launch, you might find the following outcomes: channels with high views numbers and high CTRs, demonstrating the real interest of the audience, yet with remarkably low conversion rates. In the worst-case scenario, you might witness thousands of clicks resulting in zero to just a few signups. While this might suggest technical issues in other industries, in crypto campaigns it indicates that the creator engaged in the campaign not only bought fake views and comments but also link clicks. And this happens more often than you may realize.

Summing up, choosing the right crypto creator to promote your product is indeed a tricky job that requires a lot of resources to be put into the search process. 

Author Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency  at Famesters



Nadia Bubennikova, Head of agency at Famesters

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Central banks and the FinTech sector unite to change global payments space





The BIS, along with seven leading central banks and a cohort of private financial firms, has embarked on an ambitious venture known as Project Agorá.

Named after the Greek word for “marketplace,” this initiative stands at the forefront of exploring the potential of tokenisation to significantly enhance the operational efficiency of the monetary system worldwide.

Central to this pioneering project are the Bank of France (on behalf of the Eurosystem), the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Korea, the Bank of Mexico, the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of England, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. These institutions have joined forces under the banner of Project Agorá, in partnership with an extensive assembly of private financial entities convened by the Institute of International Finance (IIF).


At the heart of Project Agorá is the pursuit of integrating tokenised commercial bank deposits with tokenised wholesale central bank money within a unified, public-private programmable financial platform. By harnessing the advanced capabilities of smart contracts and programmability, the project aspires to unlock new transactional possibilities that were previously infeasible or impractical, thereby fostering novel opportunities that could benefit businesses and consumers alike.

The collaborative effort seeks to address and surmount a variety of structural inefficiencies that currently plague cross-border payments. These challenges include disparate legal, regulatory, and technical standards; varying operating hours and time zones; and the heightened complexity associated with conducting financial integrity checks (such as anti-money laundering and customer verification procedures), which are often redundantly executed across multiple stages of a single transaction due to the involvement of several intermediaries.

As a beacon of experimental and exploratory projects, the BIS Innovation Hub is committed to delivering public goods to the global central banking community through initiatives like Project Agorá. In line with this mission, the BIS will soon issue a call for expressions of interest from private financial institutions eager to contribute to this ground-breaking project. The IIF will facilitate the involvement of private sector participants, extending an invitation to regulated financial institutions representing each of the seven aforementioned currencies to partake in this transformative endeavour.

Source: fintech.globa

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TD Bank inks multi-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud





TD Bank has inked a multi-year deal with Google Cloud as it looks to streamline the development and deployment of new products and services.

The deal will see the Canadian banking group integrate the vendor’s cloud services into a wider portion of its technology solutions portfolio, a move which TD expects will enable it “to respond quickly to changing customer expectations by rolling out new features, updates, or entirely new financial products at an accelerated pace”.

This marks an expansion of the already established relationship between TD Bank and Google Cloud after the group previously adopted the vendor’s Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) for TD Securities Automated Trading (TDSAT), the Chicago-based subsidiary of its investment banking unit, TD Securities.


TDSAT uses GKE for process automation and quantitative modelling across fixed income markets, resulting in the development of a “data-driven research platform” capable of processing large research workloads in trading.

Dan Bosman, SVP and CIO of TD Securities, claims the infrastructure has so far supported TDSAT with “compute-intensive quantitative analysis” while expanding the subsidiary’s “trading volumes and portfolio size”.

TD’s new partnership with Google Cloud will see the group attempt to replicate the same level of success across its entire portfolio.


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