China securities regulator breaks with tradition to attend Hong Kong delegates’ meeting

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2016, 12:24pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2016, 12:24pm

In an unprecedented move, Liu Shiyu, the new chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), on Tuesday attended the Hong Kong delegates’ discussion at the “Two Sessions”, the country’s top two annual political meetings.

His attendance gains significance as it comes amid the continuing volatilities that have come to mark the Chinese stock markets of late.

Liu did not make a clear statement on the long-awaited Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect scheme during the meeting, only saying the stock markets in Hong Kong and Shenzhen were “sister flowers”.

But Maria Tam Wai-chu, head of the Hong Kong delegation, refused to divulge what Liu said at the meeting.

Fellow delegate David Wong Yau-kar noted Liu’s difference of style from most other mainland officials.

“Mainland officials usually summarise the main points after all delegates speak, but Liu asked questions on matters raised by delegates,” he said.

“It was very unusual for a CSRC chairman to attend the National People’s Congress discussion. Clearly, Liu wants to collect as much information as he can before formally announcing his plans,” said a Chinese brokerage analyst who did not want to be identified.

Liu took office late February after his predecessor Xiao Gang stepped down amid heavy criticism of his failure to steady the stock markets. Liu is yet to make any public statements on his plans for the market. His first press release on taking the helm of the CSRC is due this Saturday. But sources said Liu tends to prioritise stability over reforms, meaning some of the much expected changes could be put on ice.

The top items on Xiao Gang’s reforms agenda were introduction of a registration-based system for new listings and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect scheme.