Date: 15Apr 2020 
Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm (Wednesday)


Digital Finance & Crisis

Professor Douglas W. Arner
Kerry Holdings Professor in Law and AIIFL Director, Faculty of Law, HKU

The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis is putting unprecedented strain on markets, governments, businesses and individuals. The human, economic and financial costs are increasing dramatically, with potentially huge impact on developing countries and emerging market countries in addition to developed countries and regions. Across all of these, the greatest toll is likely to fall on those least able to bear it, with terrible damage to human development across the world.

This talk examines how the digital financial infrastructure that emerged in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis is being, and can be, leveraged to overcome the immediate challenges presented by the pandemic and manage the impending economic fallout. The origins of the 2008 crisis and current crisis are different: 2008 was a financial crisis spilling over into the real economy. 2020 is a health and geopolitical crisis, spilling over simultaneously into financial markets and the real economy. As such, this crisis requires different approaches.

This study operates at two levels:

– At the macro level, it seeks to identify areas of systemic risk and strategies and frameworks to support policy coordination and action; and

– At the micro level is seeks to illustrate how digital finance tools may be able to assist addressing some of the challenges emerging.

About the Speaker:
Douglas W. Arner is one of the world’s leading experts on financial regulation, particularly the intersection between law, finance and technology. He is the Kerry Holdings Professor in Law and Director of the Asian Institute of International Financial Law at the University of Hong Kong, where he is also Faculty Director of the Faculty of Law’s LLM in Compliance and Regulation, LLM in Corporate and Financial Law and Law, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (LITE) Programmes. Douglas served as Head of the HKU Department of Law from 2011 to 2014 and as Co-Director of the Duke University-HKU Asia-America Institute in Transnational Law from 2005 to 2016. He has published seventeen books and more than 150 articles, chapters and reports on international financial law and regulation. He was an inaugural member of the Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council, of which he was a member from 2013-2019. Douglas has served as a consultant with, among others, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, APEC, Alliance for Financial Inclusion, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and has lectured, co-organised conferences and seminars and been involved with financial sector reform projects around the world.

The paper is available at:

Powerpoint file is available HERE