News

HK MPF system charges premiums for cheap index fundsScrap the MPF
Bloomberg, 27-Jun-2019
Webb-site estimates that about one third of all the returns generated by MPF assets so far has vanished in fees to the managers. MPF means Mandatory Payment of Fees - you cannot choose to manage your own account. Even with managed funds, an ETF like TraHK charges only about 10% of what the MPF index funds charge. The system remains an invasion of the free market and should be scrapped. We first wrote about the underperformance of the MPF HSI funds against the index back in 2005 in our article "Scrap the MPF".
ICAC, SFC investigate alleged corruption of listing applications at HKEX (0388)ICAC announcement
SFC, 26-Jun-2019
Webb-site first heard the allegations on 30-May and they were reported in media since then, so evidence may have been lost before the SFC and ICAC launched raids on 2 sponsors, 2 listed companies and a printing firm from 23-Jun onwards. A former Joint Head of the IPO Vetting Team and 2 of his associates have been arrested by the ICAC. You may wonder why a for-profit listed company is in the "business" of regulation. That's because the HK Government rejected the advice of its Expert Group to remove the conflict in 2003. The HK listing process also involves a high degree of subjectivity on "suitability". Any such process invites corruption.
HKSAR v Donald Tsang Yam Kuen
HK Court of Final Appeal, 26-Jun-2019
The top court quashes his conviction for misconduct in public office, on the grounds of jury misdirection. As he has already served his sentence, no retrial is ordered.
MMT fines H&H (1112) and its Chairman HK$1.6m each for late disclosure of inside information
SFC, 25-Jun-2019
For the 3rd time, the MMT gets it wrong by penalising shareholders for the wrong-doing done to them. This follows Yorkey (2788) in Feb-2017 and Fujikon (0927) in Apr-2019. In each case, the company's failure to disclose was entirely due to the negligence of the directors involved and they should have paid all the fines and expenses. Both the Fujikon and H&H cases were settlements agreed with the SFC, so the SFC has allowed directors to shift part of the burden of their wrong-doing onto shareholders by using company funds. This has to stop.
Concentration warning in Grand Talents (8516)
SFC, 21-Jun-2019
The top 20 holders have 95.15%. The stock was listed on 15-Oct-2018. It is now at $3.03 or 7.58x its IPO price of $0.40.
Kingdee (0268) Chairman sells block after Webb-site bubble warningOur warning
Disclosure of interest, 20-Jun-2019
We issued our bubble warning on 18-Mar-2019 at the prior close of $10.62. On 19-Jun-2019, Mr Xu sold 60m shares at $8.40, raising HK$504m.
SFC fines Credit Suisse HK$2.8m for disclosure omissions in research reports
SFC, 19-Jun-2019
That's the multi-page blurb on conflicts at the back of each report that nobody reads anyway - it took them 10 years to notice the omissions.
Why Carrie Lam must go
Webb-site.com, 16-Jun-2019
The "suspension" of the Extradition Bill, which will likely lapse in July 2020, is not the end of an increasing erosion of HK's autonomy. With a rubber-stamp legislature, the only thing that now prevents draconian legislation is massive public pressure. Mrs Lam has irrevocably lost the public trust. Beijing will hold her accountable for the loss of control last week, after a suitable interval to disconnect the issues, but this will not prevent the increasing erosion of HK's autonomy.
Judge warned by Chief Justice after signing petition against extradition bill
South China Morning Post, 8-Jun-2019
We note that the HK Law Reform Commission includes the Chief Justice and another permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal - so judges do indeed express views on proposed changes to laws - but the fast-track Extradition Bill never went through the LRC. The Chief Executive should now withdraw the bill and refer the issue to the LRC.
Leung Chun Kwong v Civil Service & Inland Revenue
HK Court of Final Appeal, 6-Jun-2019
In a victory for common sense, Mr Leung, a gay man legally married overseas, wins. The CFA unanimously overturns the Court of Appeal, which found that the "prevailing views of the community on marriage" was relevant. In a nutshell, the whole point of prohibiting discrimination against minorities is to prevent the majority view (if there is one) from trampling over their rights. The CFA also held that there was no rational connection between denying Leung his employment benefits and joint taxation and protecting the institution of heterosexual marriage (if that is a legitimate aim).
The Trump Dump: war-gaming the next move against China
Webb-site.com, 2-Jun-2019
The US Administration has so far focused entirely on the trade account, but when the potential for tariffs is exhausted, if not sooner, Trump may start to wonder why US funds have hundreds of billions of dollars invested in stocks and bonds of Chinese state-backed companies, and use OFAC powers to order them to divest.
SFC fines China Merchants Securities HK$27m for sponsor failures
SFC, 27-May-2019
As we predicted in March when UBS was fined but one of its clients was not named, this relates to the IPO of China Metal Recycling, listed in 2009 and ordered in 2015 to be wound up. The IPO was jointly sponsored by UBS and China Merchants Securities.
Court of Appeal dismisses Andrew Left's leave applicationJudgment
SFC, 24-May-2019
The only option left to Mr Left is to apply for leave to the Court of Final Appeal.

Our stories

Why Carrie Lam must go
The "suspension" of the Extradition Bill, which will likely lapse in July 2020, is not the end of an increasing erosion of HK's autonomy. With a rubber-stamp legislature, the only thing that now prevents draconian legislation is massive public pressure. Mrs Lam has irrevocably lost the public trust. Beijing will hold her accountable for the loss of control last week, after a suitable interval to disconnect the issues, but this will not prevent the increasing erosion of HK's autonomy. (16-Jun-2019)
The Trump Dump: war-gaming the next move against China
The US Administration has so far focused entirely on the trade account, but when the potential for tariffs is exhausted, if not sooner, Trump may start to wonder why US funds have hundreds of billions of dollars invested in stocks and bonds of Chinese state-backed companies, and use OFAC powers to order them to divest. (2-Jun-2019)
Andrew Fan, Universal INED
A quick look at tomorrow's new listing sees an INED taking his 10th board seat. In our view, he should have found time to check his prospectus biography more carefully. (15-May-2019)
Stop the Scripless U-turn
Investors were in the dark for 4 years about plans to tear up a model that was first recommended by the Hay Davison Report in 1988, has worked in Australia since 1999, and was legislated in HK in 2015 but never actioned. Our extensive discussions with SFC and HKEX reveal no legitimate issues. We urge legislators to reject this U-turn and the SFC to proceed with the legislated model. The stench of vested interests is overpowering. (30-Apr-2019)
Putting the dot back in HK
A deep dive into HK's "not-for-profit" internet domain registry reveals appalling governance, over-charging, continuing conflicts of interests and a severe case of corporate obesity. In late 2015, having hoarded enough cash to run the registry for 9 years, the Government-controlled board reversed a fee cut, losing a quarter of registered domains over the next 3 years, while seeking ways to squander the surpluses on mission-creep rather than return the cash to users. There is a better way. (25-Apr-2019)
SFC action is too little, too late for minority shareholders of Luxey (8041)
The SFC seeks disqualification of 2 ex-directors, but fails to seek any recovery of Luxey's HK$350m, 7-fold overpayment in an acquisition from an alleged nominee of then Chairman Joseph Lau. We first documented this case and numerous other suspicious transactions involving Luxey and other listed companies in a series of articles in 2012. This is the only one to see any action, and it falls far short of what is needed to provide a deterrent. (14-Apr-2019)
Hopewell and the lemon discount
What does the ability to take a company private for 57 cents on the dollar say about the future of HK's public market? Failure to reform HK's laws and regulations to improve the corporate governance framwork will see the market shrink over time as good companies stay away and controllers take existing companies private. (22-Mar-2019)
Inside the Kingdee bubble
It appears to be a Shenzhen success story, conquering the World with the "Chinese management model", but we burn through the techno-fog of the disclosures and dig deep inside the accounts. You won't like what you see. (18-Mar-2019)
Revealed: SFC probes Chairman, CEO of Hua Han Health (0587), freezes their accounts
The SFC has frozen accounts at 3 brokerages up to HK$3.81bn, the amount raised by HHH in 2015 in an open offer ($3.19bn) and a CB ($0.62bn) issued to Huarong (2799) and CCB (0939). The SFC suspects false or misleading statements and misappropriation of part of the proceeds. (16-Feb-2019)
A simpler, fairer tax system
There are calls for a rental deduction for HK salaries tax, to compensate for the mortgage interest deduction. Both miss the point. Governments should not use tax breaks to distort consumer choice. Give people unconditional higher personal allowances instead, and introduce a flat rate of tax above that. Also, abolish the tiered rate of profits tax and the R&D deduction, 2 gimmicks introduced by Carrie Lam. (30-Jan-2019)
Why stock-plunges happen so often in HK
We explain the 20-year history to a statutory loophole which keeps investors in the dark on share pledges. (24-Jan-2019)

Other news

HK MPF system charges premiums for cheap index fundsScrap the MPF
Bloomberg, 27-Jun-2019
Webb-site estimates that about one third of all the returns generated by MPF assets so far has vanished in fees to the managers. MPF means Mandatory Payment of Fees - you cannot choose to manage your own account. Even with managed funds, an ETF like TraHK charges only about 10% of what the MPF index funds charge. The system remains an invasion of the free market and should be scrapped. We first wrote about the underperformance of the MPF HSI funds against the index back in 2005 in our article "Scrap the MPF".
ICAC, SFC investigate alleged corruption of listing applications at HKEX (0388)ICAC announcement
SFC, 26-Jun-2019
Webb-site first heard the allegations on 30-May and they were reported in media since then, so evidence may have been lost before the SFC and ICAC launched raids on 2 sponsors, 2 listed companies and a printing firm from 23-Jun onwards. A former Joint Head of the IPO Vetting Team and 2 of his associates have been arrested by the ICAC. You may wonder why a for-profit listed company is in the "business" of regulation. That's because the HK Government rejected the advice of its Expert Group to remove the conflict in 2003. The HK listing process also involves a high degree of subjectivity on "suitability". Any such process invites corruption.
HKSAR v Donald Tsang Yam Kuen
HK Court of Final Appeal, 26-Jun-2019
The top court quashes his conviction for misconduct in public office, on the grounds of jury misdirection. As he has already served his sentence, no retrial is ordered.
MMT fines H&H (1112) and its Chairman HK$1.6m each for late disclosure of inside information
SFC, 25-Jun-2019
For the 3rd time, the MMT gets it wrong by penalising shareholders for the wrong-doing done to them. This follows Yorkey (2788) in Feb-2017 and Fujikon (0927) in Apr-2019. In each case, the company's failure to disclose was entirely due to the negligence of the directors involved and they should have paid all the fines and expenses. Both the Fujikon and H&H cases were settlements agreed with the SFC, so the SFC has allowed directors to shift part of the burden of their wrong-doing onto shareholders by using company funds. This has to stop.
Concentration warning in Grand Talents (8516)
SFC, 21-Jun-2019
The top 20 holders have 95.15%. The stock was listed on 15-Oct-2018. It is now at $3.03 or 7.58x its IPO price of $0.40.
Kingdee (0268) Chairman sells block after Webb-site bubble warningOur warning
Disclosure of interest, 20-Jun-2019
We issued our bubble warning on 18-Mar-2019 at the prior close of $10.62. On 19-Jun-2019, Mr Xu sold 60m shares at $8.40, raising HK$504m.
SFC fines Credit Suisse HK$2.8m for disclosure omissions in research reports
SFC, 19-Jun-2019
That's the multi-page blurb on conflicts at the back of each report that nobody reads anyway - it took them 10 years to notice the omissions.
Judge warned by Chief Justice after signing petition against extradition bill
South China Morning Post, 8-Jun-2019
We note that the HK Law Reform Commission includes the Chief Justice and another permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal - so judges do indeed express views on proposed changes to laws - but the fast-track Extradition Bill never went through the LRC. The Chief Executive should now withdraw the bill and refer the issue to the LRC.
Leung Chun Kwong v Civil Service & Inland Revenue
HK Court of Final Appeal, 6-Jun-2019
In a victory for common sense, Mr Leung, a gay man legally married overseas, wins. The CFA unanimously overturns the Court of Appeal, which found that the "prevailing views of the community on marriage" was relevant. In a nutshell, the whole point of prohibiting discrimination against minorities is to prevent the majority view (if there is one) from trampling over their rights. The CFA also held that there was no rational connection between denying Leung his employment benefits and joint taxation and protecting the institution of heterosexual marriage (if that is a legitimate aim).
Previously on Webb-site.com
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