New securities anti-graft chief named

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2011, 12:00am

Beijing has appointed Li Xiaohong, former chairman of brokerage China Securities, as chief of the China Securities Regulatory Commission's anti-graft body, replacing Li Xiaoxue, who steps down because he has passed the retirement age.

Li Xiaohong, 58, was named secretary of the CSRC's Discipline Inspection Committee, a vice-minister-level official after Li Xiaoxue, who is 63, was dismissed from the post, a statement from the regulator said.

The move heralds a new round of reshuffling, with the mainland's securities regulator under fire from millions of investors peeved over its reluctance to act to pump up the troubled market.

Vice-minister-level officials on the mainland normally retire at 60.

The appointment of Li Xiaohong is in line with speculation that CSRC chairman Shang Fulin, who is 60, will become chief of the mainland's banking regulator.

'It could be seen as a prelude to a major reshuffle within the CSRC,' Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi said. 'But investors may not be happy to see the changes, particularly now.'

Secretary of the discipline inspection committee is not regarded as a powerful post at the CSRC since the occupant has little say in policymaking. But the new appointment sends a strong message to the market that Beijing has started personnel changes at financial bodies in the run-up to the 18th Communist Party Congress next year, when a major reshuffle of the top leadership is set to take place.

It was reported that Agricultural Bank of China chairman Xiang Junbo would succeed Shang at the CSRC.

Equity investors are angry with Shang and his agency, with the Shanghai Composite Index losing 17 per cent this year.

Previously, the CSRC would consider rolling out incentives to boost a weak market but this year it has turned a deaf ear to investors' complaints even as the downward spiral shows no signs of ending.

Analysts said the top securities regulators were probably focused more on the upcoming reshuffle than the market sentiment.

Shang became the chief of the CSRC in 2002, replacing Zhou Xiaochuan, who is now the central bank governor. Shang has been credited with efforts to overhaul the market. He has strongly advocated market liberalisation, and derivatives such as stock index futures and margin trading were launched on his watch.

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