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Hong Kong Establishes Panel To Review Securities And Futures Commission

Mary Swire, Tax-news.com, Hong Kong

10 November 2000


The Hong Kong government will today 'gazette' or introduce the controversial Composite Securities and Futures Bill, which combines and replaces all ten existing pieces of securities and futures legislation, as well as giving the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) the power to regulate Internet trading, and allowing it to seize the working papers of market professionals during investigations. The Bill is expected to become law next year.

There have been concerns that the new legislation will give too much power to the SFC, and in response the government yesterday announced that it is setting up an independent body to review the internal operations of the SFC. The non-statutory body is to be known as the Process Review Panel, and is to ensure that the SFC's internal operations, including its investigative and disciplinary procedures, are fair and consistent.

Hong Kong Secretary for Financial Services Stephen Ip said in a statement: "We have established the Process Review Panel ahead of the enactment of the Securities and Futures Bill, in order to demonstrate our resolve to enhance the transparency and accountability of the Commission."

Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa has appointed Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen, vice-chairman and chief executive of Hang Seng Bank, to chair the panel. Other members of the panel include Hysan Development chairman Lee Hon-chiu, legislator Bernard Chan, Worldsec International chairman Henry Cheong Ying-chew, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu partner Fong Hup, senior counsel Robert Kotewall, Edward Kwan Pak-chung, executive director of HSBC Broking Services (Asia), SFC chairman Andrew Sheng, SFC non-executive director Henry Fan Hung-ling, Ian Wingfield, law officer (civil law), Department of Justice, Liu Pak-wai, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Joseph Pang Yuk-wing, deputy chief executive of the Bank of East Asia.

The chairman and members of the panel have been appointed in their personal capacities for a term of two years, beginning November 1, except Mr Lee, whose term will begin on January 1 next year.

The panel will receive regular reports from the SFC on all completed or discontinued cases; the results of prosecutions and appeals, and on how it deals with complaints. It will also give advice to the commission and submit regular reports to the Financial Secretary. These reports will be published as far as legally possible.

"The panel's first task will be to examine and advise the commission on the adequacy of existing procedures . . . to ensure that those procedures are fair and equitable," Mr Ip said.

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