Fishy listings from Chinese firms have become a problem for the Hong Kong stock exchange. Hong Kong needs to strengthen its rules to get their act together, says accounting professor Paul Gillis at WHEC.com. Its new 2012 rules might not be enough. Chinese companies have to be forced to tell the whole story.
Hong Kong created new rules in 2012 that tightened requirements for investment banks’ due diligence and gave regulators the ability to hold IPO sponsors criminally liable for stock issuers’ misstatements. Espinasse said the changes have had a positive effect.
Hong Kong regulators may have further to go, especially in regard to forcing companies to disclose their past and present ties with the Chinese government, said Paul Gillis, an accounting professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. Given concerns about corruption in China’s transition to a market economy, he said, investors should know how and when ownership of companies passed into private hands.
“I’ve never seen that story told properly in a Hong Kong prospectus,” Gillis said. “That’s one of the reasons these companies tend to list in Hong Kong instead of the U.S., because I don’t think the SEC would tolerate this.”
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