‘Exemptions for executives needed for recovery’

Allowing fully vaccinated senior executives of listed companies to skip quarantine when they come to Hong Kong is important for the city’s economic revival, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.

The policy, announced by the Securities and Futures Commission in a statement last Friday, stipulates that Hong Kong-based senior executives of financial companies and their overseas affiliates who are fully inoculated can apply for an exemption from quarantine.

A maximum of two returning senior executives from each financial company, and two of their overseas affiliates can apply for the exemption each month. They will be required to provide their vaccination details as well as a full itinerary of their stay, including the hotels they are staying at, as well the venues they plan on visiting.

Speaking ahead of an Executive Council meeting, Lam stressed the policy is “not a free for all”, and regulators need to be convinced that these executives have a “genuine business purpose”.

She said Hong Kong needs to consider the recovery of the city’s economy, and the important role played by the financial services sector.

“So the Financial Services and Treasury Bureau, in consultation with the regulatory authorities, have proposed that we should provide an alternative arrangement for these senior executives to come so that they can continue to conduct the very essential economic activities in Hong Kong,” Lam said.

“They’re subject to another set of, I’d still call it, quarantine arrangements, which restricts their behaviour and activities,” Lam said.

“They have to stay at one designated spot, and they have to travel to another designated spot, for example to attend meetings, consult lawyers for their IPOs… they couldn’t go out to the community at all.”

Lam stressed this is not a new exemption policy, saying, for example, that scientists and producers of medical protective gear also enjoy such treatment.