Can Hong Kong’s carrot and stick approach prove effective in improving stock market quality?

      Published on Sunday, 31 March , 2019      151 Views     

Hong Kong’s carrot and stick approach to clean up misconduct and reforms to attract new listings has the support of international institutional investors, as the city aims to become Asia’s go-to stock market.

The Securities and Futures Commission, the market watchdog, on March 14 imposed a record US$100 million fine on four major international banks– UBS, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Standard Chartered for failing in their duty as IPO sponsors between 2009 and 2014.

The SFC’s action came after bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing unveiled its three-year strategic plan on February 28 to boost Hong Kong’s status as a fundraising hub for Asia-Pacific companies,

bolster its gateway role for mainland investment and become the market leader in the Asian time zone.

Last April, the HKEX carried out its largest ever listing reform to attract multiple-class shareholding tech companies and pre-revenue biotech companies.

“As one of the active asset managers with operation in Hong Kong, we think the enforcement actions by regulators are constructive to investors, as these can ensure the quality of Hong Kong-listed companies and maintain the reputation of Hong Kong financial market,” said Raymond Chan, chief investment officer of equity for Asia-Pacific at Allianz Global Investors, which manages 505 billion (US$567 billion) of assets.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-Po told the Post that the SFC and HKEX have the government’s full support.

“We welcome the action taken by SFC. It demonstrates SFC’s determination in ensuring the healthy development of the stock market and protection of investors,” Chan said. “It also sends a clear message that while we strive to come first in terms of funds raised through IPOs, the quality of listing is of paramount importance.”

The HKEX’s goals, Chan said, echoes with the vision of his budget this year.

“Our vision is to develop Hong Kong into the international financial centre of China, Asia and the world by riding on the increasing economic size of China and harnessing global opportunities.

“HKEX will be our close partner in the further development of our financial services sector,” the financial secretary said.

The bourse operator’s chief executive Charles Li Xiaojia also wants to enhance the use of technology and develop a suite of exchange-traded products (ETF) to give it an edge over its regional rivals.

Category News | 2019/03/31 latest update at 7:00 PM
Source : SCMP | Photocredit : Google
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