Articles: Financial regulatory structure
HKEx drops second-class shares proposal
HKEx has finally thrown in the towel on its attempts to list second-class shares. Corporate governance was already bad enough without making it even easier to abuse minority shareholders. Charles Li’s campaign to do this exposed the blatant conflict of interests in the Exchange being a for-profit regulator. This conflict should now be addressed by transplanting the listing function to the SFC, the statutory regulator. The Listing Committee, dominated by issuer interests, needs radical reform too.
SFC statement on SEHK's draft proposal on weighted voting rights
Hurray! This should kill it, as all changes to Listing Rules must be approved by the SFC. The SFC board "unanimously concluded that it does not support the draft proposal for primary listings with WVR structures". Now Government should recognise the huge conflict of interest in HKEx being a for-profit rule-maker and regulator. The Listing Division should be transferred to the SFC and merged with its Corporate Finance Division which oversees the Takeovers Code, as a Government-appointed Expert Group recommended in 2003.
HKEx signs MoU with CCB (0939)
Company media release, 15-Sep-2014
This MoU, for "strategic cooperation" again puts HKEx into a conflict of interest with its role as listing regulator of CCB, as it has done with China Minsheng Banking (1988). The SFC should take over as listing regulator of both banks.
Minsheng tax grab, HKEx conflicts
Minsheng Bank (1988) just grabbed RMB115.6m from H-share holders and paid it to the Government with no good reason. We explain why bonus share issues by PRC issuers are not just silly but damaging to shareholder value. We also look at the conflict of interest for HKEx, which recently signed a strategic MoU with Minsheng and is pursuing relationships with other banks while acting as their listing regulator. The SFC should now take over regulation of these listings, but has declined to do so. (30-Jun-2014)
We had a dream too!
Following the hallucinations in HKEx non-elected director and CEO Charles Li Xiao Jia's blog yesterday, Webb-site had a dream last night! (26-Sep-2013)
Alibaba's spotlight on HK regulation
10 years after the Expert Group report, Alibaba's requests spotlight the unresolved conflict of interests of HKEx between profit and regulation, creating an opportunity for Government to put this back on the agenda. They should now follow through, strip HKEx of its regulatory role, create a Listings and Takeovers Authority under the SFC, and remove the special provisions of HKEx's own constitution which make it a Government-controlled company. (18-Sep-2013)
The FSDC: under development
The Financial Services Development Council is apparently still under development itself. Confusion reigns over what form it will take, how it will be funded (if at all), and even the identity of persons appointed to it. We'll try to add some clarity. (24-Jan-2013)
HKSAR v Theodore Cheng Chee Tock & Philip Yu
HK District Court, 30-Oct-2012
"The flouting of listing rules...might well be exacerbated by a lack of tight regulation and a comprehensive mechanism to punish those who manipulate the system. It is also clear to see that quite many people in the senior management level of companies failed or were reluctant ot distinguish their own fund and the funds of a public listed company." - District Judge Stanley Chan.
Lessons from Lehman Minibonds
Webb-site.com looks beyond the Lehman minibonds fiasco and proposes three steps to reform the regulatory system for the sale of financial products. Without such reforms, there is a risk of either repeated crises or an outright ban on the sale of such products. Tell us what you think in our opinion poll. (20-Oct-2008)
Building a Value Proposition for HK
HK Chief Executive Donald Tsang recently convened an Economic Summit of 33 people, which spawned 4 focus groups, including one on financial services, which in turn produced 3 working groups, one of which, headed by HKEx government-appointed director and Chairman Ronald Arculli, has sought submissions on the markets. This is our submission. (4-Oct-2006)
The SFC Chairmanship
The Government is proposing to create a non-executive, token-payment Chairmanship at the SFC. In a submission invited by the Legislative Council's Panel on Financial Affairs, we argue that this would be dangerous and wrong in principle. (20-Dec-2004)
D-graded PERL of the Orient
The Government has announced its decision on Proposals to Enhance the Regulation of Listing. This represents only glacial progress. While they leave the door open for more meaningful reform in future phases, that is about as likely and imminent as universal suffrage, and not unrelated to that problem. We also look at the way investors have been relegated to a footnote in the report. (28-Mar-2004)
PERL: Strickland's Submission
It transpires that Webb-site.com editor David Webb was not the only director of HKEx to make a personal submission to the Government on the Listing Consultation. We have obtained a copy of John Strickland's submission, and in the interests of transparency, we publish it here. (28-Mar-2004)
Our PERL Submission
Webb-site.com editor David Webb, an investor-elected director of HKEx, has submitted his response to the Government's consultation on Proposals to Enhance the Regulation of Listing. You can read it here, and make your own submission using our form. (1-Feb-2004)
The Reason for Resistance
We take a detailed look at the ongoing battle over the regulation of listed companies in Hong Kong, now in its third round of consultations after the PIPSI report and the Expert Group report, and take a look at the HKEx Chief Executive's recent statements on the subject, which has yet to be discussed by the board to which he reports, including Webb-site.com editor David Webb. (30-Oct-2003)
Disserving the Public Interest
HKEx, having announced a commitment to co-operate with Government's adoption of the Expert Group's plan to shift its regulatory role to the SFC, is now fighting it. We sat down last Monday with Charles Lee, who said that HKEx was obliged to put the public interest first and co-operate with the Government's proposal. Now he has done a U-turn. Did HKEx make a false and misleading announcement? And what about dictum meum pactum? (31-Mar-2003)
Expert Group Submission
In the interests of transparency and debate, Webb-site.com is publishing its submission to the Expert Group to Review the Operation of the Securities and Futures Market Regulatory Structure. The three-man group has the opportunity to recommend far-reaching reforms. (25-Nov-2002)
The report by the Government-appointed Panel of Inquiry into the recent "Penny Stocks Incident" was released on Tuesday. Webb-site.com looks beyond the blame game and into the recommendations for structural reform of the regulatory system. (15-Sep-2002)
The HK Financial Secretary appointed a 2-man Panel of Inquiry into the recent "Penny Stocks Incident". In the interests of transparency, Webb-site.com is publishing the letter we received from PIPSI and our submission in response. (18-Aug-2002)
The Delisting Fiasco
Despite clear warnings of the consequences, HKEx on Thursday announced proposals to delist companies that fail to meet certain criteria of market cap, shareholders equity, profitability, clean audit reports or nominal share prices. The rational consequence was a crash in micro-cap stocks on Friday, followed by a hurried Sunday afternoon withdrawal of the proposals, for now at least. We give you the background. (29-Jul-2002)
We review a chaotic month on the Government policy front in general and the HKEx in particular, and look at the broader issues surrounding the current proposals, or rather the lack of them. Merging two issuer-dominated Listing Committees together will not address the needs of investors, while the Government ducks the real problem of having a for-profit toothless regulator rather than SFC regulation and statutory backing for the Listing Rules. (28-Jul-2002)
Consultation on a proposed new listing status
This document was catalysed by a request from the Jardine Matheson Group to have a trading-only listing in HK after it shifted its Primary Listing to the UK, even though most of the trading volume was expected to remain in HK. Ultimately SEHK did not proceed with the proposal, and the 5 Jardine companies moved their primary listing to the UK. HK became a secondary listing but the group in 1994 delisted from HK.