Standard Chartered CEO says Hong Kong is ‘very, very safe’ as a banking center

Bill Winters, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered, at the Asian Financial Forum 2020 in Hong Kong.

Kyle Lam | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Hong Kong’s position as global financial center remains “very, very safe” even as the city is caught up in escalating tensions between the U.S. and China, according to Standard Chartered’s Chief Executive Bill Winters.

“The fact is Hong Kong is sitting here as the gateway to China for capital into China and out of China. That’s only become more clear,” Winters, who’s attending the virtual Singapore Summit, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday.

Beijing earlier this year enacted a controversial national security law in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory with more freedom than mainland cities. The U.S. hit out at the move and sanctioned several individuals — including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam — for undermining the city’s autonomy.

Stanchart, a British bank that makes much of its profits in Asia, said in June that it believes the national security law “can help maintain the long term economic and social stability of Hong Kong.” Three months in, Winters said that earlier hope for stability “seems to have been well founded and is playing out.”