CSRC reshuffled in run-up to National People's Congress
Fan Fuchun is to step down as vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission and assume the top job at the Shanghai Futures Exchange, having reached mandatory retirement age for vice-ministerial positions, according to sources.
Amid a series of high-level personnel changes before the National People's Congress in March, a number of candidates are vying for the two CSRC vice-chairman posts vacated by Mr Fan and Tu Guangshao, who was recently appointed vice-mayor of Shanghai.
Sources said it remained to be seen whether CSRC chairman Shang Fulin would stay on.
'Policy orientation largely hinges on the No1 boss,' said a Beijing-based source.
'It is still unclear whether the reshuffle will involve Shang Fulin, while new vice-chairmen appointments have only a minimal impact on future policy.'
Of the candidates, Yao Gang, 46, now assistant to Mr Shang, is tipped to replace Mr Fan.
Mr Yao headed the supervision department of public offerings before he was named assistant CSRC chairman in July 2004.
Between 1999 and 2002, Mr Yao was president of Guotai Junan Securities, at the time the biggest brokerage on the mainland after Shanghai-based Guotai merged with Shenzhen-based Junan.
In 2002, he was appointed director of public offerings at the CSRC.
Two other assistants to the CSRC chairman, Liu Xinhua and Wang Yang, and Shanghai Stock Exchange president Zhu Congjiu were also among the candidates for the post of CSRC vice-chairman, sources said.
'Yao Gang is almost certain to be promoted,' a source said. 'Competition among the others for a vice-chairman title is intense.'
Mr Liu, 53, became head of the CSRC's general office in 1999, and assistant chairman in July 2006.
Mr Jiang, 52, was president of the Shanghai Futures Exchange between 2001 and 2006 before being named assistant to the CSRC chairman.
He has a doctorate in economics, and at present is in charge of the futures supervision department.
Mr Zhu, 43, began to oversee the Shanghai exchange in September 2000, a year after he was named executive vice-general manager of the bourse in charge of daily operations.
The vice-minister-level reshuffle at the CSRC comes in the wake of a similar move by the central bank, which announced last week that Yi Gang and Ma Delun, both assistants to Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, had both been promoted to the post of deputy governor.
However, the future of Mr Zhou and Mr Shang is still unknown.
It was speculated late last year that Mr Shang would replace Mr Zhou to oversee the central bank after the top legislative meeting in March.
Other rumours said Huang Qifan, vice-mayor of Chongqing municipality, would be named executive CSRC vice-chairman, and would eventually replace Mr Shang to head the securities watchdog.
In September 2004, the Guangzhou Daily reported that Mr Huang would become the mainland's top securities official.
Mr Huang and the CSRC quickly dismissed the reports at the time.
Mr Huang, 56, served in various positions in Shanghai between 1983 and 2002 before being posted to Chongqing.
He was head of the economic commission in Shanghai.
Mr Huang was a strong advocate for restructuring state-owned companies. He has been described as reform-minded, eloquent and liberal.
'The market would welcome Mr Huang as the new CSRC chairman because he is bold and practical,' said a source. 'Investors would take it for granted that the two-year bull market could continue if he were to take the post.'