SFC recalls firm pressure to change its listing rulesTop News | Avery Chen and Bloomberg 8 Nov 2019
Ashley Alder, chief executive of the Securities and Futures Commission, says an important and influential company pressured the market watchdog to change some key investor protection rules for its own interest in the early days.
"It threatened to move its listing overseas if we refused to do so," said Alder, who will step down at the end of his contract in September next year.
He was speaking at the market watchdog's 30th anniversary cocktail gathering on October 28 when looking back at his career. But the SFC did not release the speech until Tuesday night.
He said some SFC staff were even summoned to Government House that time, which put them under further pressure. "The fact-specific issues at stake no longer matter," he said, "but the point is this: you dug in your heels and you refused to cave in."
The speech came as Alibaba is reportedly reviving its Hong Kong dual listing plan to raise US$10 billion (HK$78 billion) to US$15 billion.
The tech giant raised US$25 billion in New York in the world's largest initial public offering in 2014 after struggling to persuade Hong Kong regulators to approve its unique dual-share structure, under which a coterie of partners decides board membership.
HKEX finally relaxed restrictions and granted the green light for dual-share classes last year, allowing internet services giant Meituan Dianping and smartphone maker Xiaomi the right to issue stock with different voting rights.
Alder, the SFC chief since October 2011, has announced that he will not seek another term. The government has begun a global search for his replacement.
Separately, the Hong Kong stock exchange welcomes one of the busiest initial trading days with six companies hitting the ceremonial gong today.
The retail portions of all of the six IPOs were oversubscribed, but share performance in the gray market varied last night.
Shares of Shanghai Kindly Medical Instruments, whose retail tranche was more than 267 times oversubscribed, rose 23.32 percent to HK$25.65 in the Bright Smart gray market. The Chinese cardiovascular device manufacturer raised HK$758 million from the public float.
Xinji Shaxi, which provides shopping mall services, surged 41 percent to HK$1.41. Acme International, works designer and builder, climbed 17.53 percent to HK$1.14. Dalipal Holdings, oil goods manufacturer, increased 5.03 percent to HK$1.67.
Shares of biotech firm TOT Biopharm International Company fell 6.11 percent to HK$6.15, while Beng Soon Machinery, Singapore-based demolition services provider, went down 2 percent to HK$0.49.