The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) is facing a reshuffle, as three senior regulators have either left or will leave soon.
The personnel changes have fuelled speculation that chairman Guo Shuqing will step up the CSRC's market reforms.
Zhu Congjiu, an assistant chairman of the CSRC, is set to be promoted to be a vice-governor of Zhejiang province, people close to the regulator said.
The promotion of Zhu follows the appointment of Gui Minjie, a former CSRC vice-chairman, as chairman of the Shanghai Stock Exchange last month.
Liu Xinhua, another vice-chairman, is expected to relinquish his responsibilities at the CSRC and move to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as its chairman.
The CSRC spokesman was not available for comment yesterday.
It is unknown who will fill the vacancies left by the three senior regulators, but analysts believe the changes could act as a catalyst for the reforms Guo is determined to make to the country's capital markets, because new faces could be bolder and more aggressive in mapping out major policy shifts.
Zhu, 47, oversees new share offerings at the CSRC; Liu, 57, is in charge of the general office and the regulator's administration; and Gui, 59, was responsible for supervising the markets.
It was not a surprise that the CSRC vice-chairmen were assigned to lead the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges, as they were close to the mandatory retirement age of 60.
'The personnel changes have heightened expectations for more bold measures by Guo to develop the capital markets,' said an executive at a Beijing-based securities firm who asked not to be identified. 'Guo is very strong-minded, and the removal of the veteran regulators, all of whom appeared conservative, could pave the way for drastic reform measures in the near future.'
Guo, former chairman of China Construction Bank, took the helm of the CSRC in late October, replacing Shang Fulin, who was seen to have taken a cautious approach to market liberalisation.
In the past six months, Guo has directed CSRC officials to reform the initial public offering mechanism and revise the delisting rules.