The Democratic party has renewed calls for the stock exchange to become a public body following the acquittal of former vice-chairman and current exchange council member Chen Po-sum on bribery charges. Democratic legislator Sin Chung-kai told a Legislative Council financial affairs panel meeting that if the exchange were a public body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) could monitor the behaviour of members. Mrs Chen was acquitted last month of eight bribery charges relating to the sale of exchange seats. She received two commissions totalling $1.6 million for the sale, but did not report this to fellow council members. She was also convenor of the membership committee at the time, leading some prominent exchange members to argue she had a conflict of interest. If the exchange were turned into a public body, bribery charges would be treated under a different section of the bribery ordinance. Exchange council members and staff would become civil servants, which would place them under more onerous reporting restrictions regarding the receipt of commissions. 'The stock exchange is a private company but it is carrying out a public duty in providing trading facilities for the public to invest in listed companies,' Mr Sin said. 'Exchange policy not only affects brokers but all investors.' The idea of turning the exchange into a public body was first mooted last year, but discussions were terminated in July after the exchange expressed doubts about whether broking members could be considered public servants as well as council or staff members. Exchange chief executive Alec Tsui Yiu-wa said it had sent a letter to the ICAC asking for details of how the change could be made, but had yet to receive a reply. The deputy secretary for financial services, Rebecca Lai Wing-yee, said the Financial Services Branch supported the proposal in principle. She said the Securities and Futures Commission and the ICAC were working on the issue to see how it could be done without affecting brokers.