SAR, Australia sign accord on increased co-operation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2000, 12:00am

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) and the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) have agreed to share information about brokers and listed companies to improve regulation.

Representatives of the two exchanges yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), the first step towards increased co-operation between the two sides.

The agreement was sealed in Sydney at an inaugural round-table meeting of Hong Kong and Australian senior government officials and financial regulators.

Both regulators also agreed to set up working groups to look into other areas of co-operation, such as cross-border fund-raising, said Secretary for Financial Services Stephen Ip Shu-kwan, who led the Hong Kong delegation. The groups will also look at enhancing co-operation between Hong Kong's financial regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission, and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (Asic) in areas such as cross-market surveillance and training programmes for brokers and regulatory staff.

'Given the openness of our respective markets, we see considerable scope for co-operation between Australia and Hong Kong,' Mr Ip said.

'The round table is a very important step forward in furthering such co-operation and strengthening the ties between the two jurisdictions.'

Mr Ip said the MOU was an important step forward in protecting investors.

'The sharing of market surveillance information will help maintain the integrity of both markets and detect manipulative market activities,' Mr IP said. 'This will help better protect the interest of investors in both markets.'

HKEx chief executive Kwong Ki-chi, who signed the MOU with ASX chief executive and managing director Richard Humphrey, said exchanges around the world needed to improve co-operation and the MOU provided a foundation for the two exchanges to share information.

'Given increasing globalisation of financial markets, such an exchange of information will enable us to enhance market integrity,' Mr Kwong said.

The HKEx and ASX are similar in many ways.

Both have changed their shareholding structures from private companies, mutually owned by stockbrokers, into publicly held entities with shares listed on their own stock markets.

Including the agreement signed yesterday, Hong Kong has signed similar MOUs with eight stock exchanges and 32 futures exchanges.

SFC chairman Andrew Sheng was in the Hong Kong delegation.

The Australian delegation was led by Australian Minister for Financial Services and Regulation Joe Hockey, with Asic deputy chairman Jillian Segal and Sydney futures exchange chief executive Robert Elstone.