Adopting the London Principles: Policy Considerations to Grow Impact Investing in Hong Kong

Preface by Co-Authors

This paper seeks to provide action-oriented insights for policy makers and practitioners exploring the use of impact investing to address Hong Kong’s most pressing social issues. Although our focus is Hong Kong, we believe many of our observations remain relevant for other cities considering the use of policy to grow impact investing. 

Working on EngageHK, our 18-month mapping exercise of Hong Kong’s social ecosystem, allowed us to engage with many of our city’s leading practitioners in their respective fields. We studied seven sub-sectors – academia, corporations, foundations, intermediaries, non-profits, social enterprises and government. Collectively, we refer to these stakeholder groups as comprising Hong Kong’s social ecosystem. Given its size, the Hong Kong government plays a significant role via its policies across departments, funding of social welfare services, either directly or through various subventions to non-profit organizations.

Although we have observed policy to be a critical factor in supporting Hong Kong’s social ecosystem, a proper analysis of existing government policy was outside the scope of our original EngageHK mapping exercise. We have therefore written this follow-up report to expand on the role of government and to show how the development of impact investing globally presents an opportunity for governments to supplement traditional funding with impact investment capital in addressing  pressing social issues.

Soon after we commenced work on this research, the Hong Kong government announced the launch of its HK$500 million (US$65 million) Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund). This unexpected but welcomed development presented us with an opportunity to reframe our approach to craft a more action-oriented report, along with specific suggested approaches, given the quickly evolving landscape in Hong Kong resulting from the launch of the SIE Fund.

The SIE Fund’s primary objective of developing social innovation and entrepreneurship for poverty alleviation, coupled with its focus on supporting intermediary organizations, resonates strongly with the recently announced London  Principles of Impact Investing. The Impact Investing Policy Collaborative developed this set of policy guidelines to assist  governments that are considering impact investing as a tool to address social objectives.  

By embracing these principles in its policy design and leveraging its position as a financial hub, Hong Kong is well placed to establish itself as an international hub for social innovation and impact investing for Mainland China and the rest of  Asia. In doing so, Hong Kong has the opportunity to tap into fresh global resources and attract new talent pools to Hong Kong to build a better and more sustainable future for the city and the region. 

 

P. Ming Wong and Philo Alto
Co-Founders, Asia Community Ventures

 

Please visit here to download the report.