Joseph Yam is a prominent economist and civil servant who served as the first Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) from 1993 to 2009.
Since his retirement he has served as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Global Economics and Finance, Executive Vice President at China Society for Finance and Banking and Chairman at Macroprudential Consultancy.
Joseph became Chief Executive of HKMA in April 1993, when the Hong Kong Office of the Exchange Fund merged with the Office of the Commissioner of Banking. He became famous during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, when he defended the Hong Kong dollar by pushing up interest rates. In an audacious move, HKMA bought US$15 billion in stocks amidst the market panic in 1998. The measure restored calm and succeeded in defending the Hong Kong fixed exchange rate parity against the US dollar.
A graduate of the University of Hong Kong, he was appointed Principal Assistant Secretary for Monetary Affairs in 1982. One year later, he helped formulate the peg between the Hong Kong dollar and US dollar. He was appointed Deputy Secretary for Monetary Affairs in 1985 and Director of the Office of the Exchange Fund in 1991.
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