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Song Lin disappears from ICAC site
Oh dear - the Chairman of the ICAC's Hong Kong Ethics Development Advisory Committee is now under investigation for alleged corruption - and the ICAC has wasted no time in removing him from its web site - but Webb-site has copies. (19-Apr-2014)

Ombudsman discloses more information
Following pressure from Webb-site, the Ombudsman has today published a summary of the submissions received during its investigations on Access to Information and keeping public archives. The submissions show strong support for legislation. Meanwhile, the wheels at the Law Reform Commission are slowly turning and covering similar ground. (17-Apr-2014)

Give public access to ALPs
We need your help! The SFC is proposing to ban retail investors from accessing Alternative Liquidity Providers, which could provide faster and better execution than just placing the order with SEHK. Webb-site urges the SFC to give the public the same options that institutional investors enjoy. They almost did with HSBC's ill-fated Stockmax. We also urge the Government to abolish SEHK's statutory monopoly and allow competition to drive down fees and innovate. (15-Apr-2014)

Jump for joy - MPF is taking more
A careful analysis of a poster we received in the mail leads us to only one conclusion... (15-Apr-2014)

E. Quat's degrees don't equate
Legislator "Dr" Elizabeth Quat has not one but three "degrees", including her doctorate, from a defunct degree mill once run out of a bungalow in Hilo, Hawaii. We also look into the characters behind it. (11-Apr-2014)

Wrong turn for REITs
Webb-site urges the SFC not to pollute the Real Estate Investment Trust market by allowing them to speculate in securities with unitholders' money. Surplus cash should be paid out to investors so that they can invest it themselves. That's what investors do. (2-Apr-2014)

What the UK should learn from Jardines
Jardine group is downgrading its UK Listing, lowering minority rights and governance standards. The controller can vote, sealing the deal for 4 companies, but minorities of Hongkong Land could save themselves from this fate. Once downgraded, full listing cancellation requires no vote. We make recommendations to London's FCA based on HK's successful 2002 reforms to avoid a Hobson's Choice of a low buyout offer or holding delisted shares. (27-Mar-2014)

HK's hotel subsidy in SimCity
Since 2008, HK has been underpricing land for hotels by selling "hotels only" land leases, failing to optimise development value and incentivising mass-market budget tourism. We urge the Financial Secretary to let the market optimise land use with unrestricted leases, and to reform the land lease system with higher ground rents and lower premiums. (23-Jan-2014)

Glorious update
A response from HKSCC indicates that Glorious Property (0845) has some explaining to do: the Grand Court did indeed want to see the CCASS Participant figures. We also show that the 61 registered holders who voted against could not have held more than 0.89% of the shares which voted, and HKSCCN held at least 99.11%. The Grand Court should decide whether the scheme proceeds. (22-Jan-2014)

Solving the MPF-LSP offset problem
We explain the historical context of the Long Service Payment and the offset against employers' Mandatory Provident Fund contributions, which is now an impediment to full portability, efficiency and lower costs in the MPF system. We provide a solution to this problem which, while not cost-free to employers, is better than the political alternatives, so they had better support it. (21-Jan-2014)

Glorious failure in the Cayman Islands
We look at the curious circumstances behind the failed privatisation of Glorious Property (0845) and call on the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, where 75% of HK-listed companies are incorporated, to follow HK in abolishing the headcount test. (19-Jan-2014)

Does gender diversity add value to HK boards?
We present empirical evidence, using the Webb-site Total Returns series on all stocks and Webb-site Who's Who for all boards in HK over the last 10 years to 2013. (17-Jan-2014)

Why did the SFC kill HSBC's Stockmax?
Two years after the SFC shut retail investors out HSBC's automated trading system, an SFC announcement gives some indication of what happened, but still leaves retail investors wondering why a pioneering service which offered potential price improvement and competition for HKEx's monopoly stock market was not allowed. (20-Dec-2013)

SHKF's abuse of HKID numbers
Next in our series on the abuse of HKID numbers as passwords comes stockbroker Sung Hung Kai Financial, which uses them to "secure" e-mailed statements. (19-Dec-2013)

Citibank's abuse of HKID numbers
We urge another bank to cease and desist from treating the HKID as a password. (18-Dec-2013)

Other news

UBS probe to focus on banker's dealings with state firm
South China Morning Post, 19-Apr-2014
Webb-site notes that Helen Yang Lijuan was a licensed representative of Credit Suisse (HK) Ltd from 11-Aug-2009 to 22-Mar-2012. Credit Suisse was the joint sponsor of the re-flotation of China Resources Cement (1313) in a prospectus dated 21-Sep-2009.

Highail Co Ltd & Chung Po Chuen v Director of Lands
HK Lands Tribunal, 15-Apr-2014
In a URA compulsory purchase, the tribunal rules in favour of separate owners of neighbouring lots, at 213-215 Yee Kuk Street, that the development potential of combining the lots must be included in the buyout price. Neither of them would be a willing seller if their lots were valued on a stand-alone basis.

Survey on Alibaba & non-standard shareholding structures
Asian Corporate Governance Association, 15-Apr-2014
Managers of over US$14tn respond that if HK allows non-standard shareholding structures then it can expect a discount of 13% to be applied to the market.

DoJ no longer has sufficient evidence to prosecute Ma Sik Chun
HK Government, 14-Apr-2014
This would appear to clear the way for Ma to return to HK, get arrested, appear in court and then have the charges against him formally dropped - assuming that there is also insufficient evidence to support any new charges.

Ma Sik Chun fails to have arrest warrant revoked
RTHK, 14-Apr-2014
Note: there are no extradition treaties between HK, mainland China, Macau and Taiwan. China is one country (or two if you count Taiwan) and 4 legal systems.

HK Court of Appeal, 14-Apr-2014
Florence Tsang Chiu Wing succeeds in getting interest at the judgment rate (8%) on the balance of her lump sum settlement from Samathur Li Kin Kan.

Previously on Webb-site.com
Check out our full list of articles in the archive, since our launch in 1998.

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Today's birthdays, 19 April
From Webb-site Who's Who
Dobie, William (1836) 178
Guinness, Edward Douglas 121
Mayo, Marjorie 108
Fletcher, Cyril Henry 101
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