The chairmen of the country's three stock markets will be at centre stage at an international conference in Beijing next month. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) chairman Charles Lee Yeh-kwong and his counterparts from the Shanghai stock exchange, Geng Liang, and the Shenzhen stock exchange, Chen Dongzheng, will co-host a forum organised by the World Federation of Exchanges from June 1 to 3. They also will be key speakers at the three-day Forum for Developing Markets at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Beijing that will bring together hundreds of delegates to swap views on stocks, bonds, futures and options. White Collar hears that the central government has added its weight to the forum and will send a vice-premier, perhaps Huang Ju, to address the gathering. Other prominent speakers will include People's Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan, China Securities Regulatory Commission chairman Shang Fulin and, from Hong Kong, Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Frederick Ma Si-hang. In worldwide terms, Hong Kong's stock market ranks much higher than those of Shanghai and Shenzhen. At the end of March, Hong Kong's was the world's ninth-largest exchange, with a market capitalisation of US$842.56 billion. Shanghai ranked 18th, with a market capitalisation of US$294.72 billion, while Shenzhen stood at No26, with US$125.77 billion. If the three are combined, China will have the world's sixth-largest exchange, overtaking those in Germany, Canada and Spain but still much smaller than the top five: New York, Nasdaq, Tokyo, London and Euronext. The three chairmen may need to work harder to get China up the ladder, but it will not be all business during the forum. Time has been allocated for sightseeing, including visits to the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and a special visit to a museum of wooden furniture from the Ming and Ching dynasties. Lee the busy bee Mr Lee certainly is a busy bee. As well as preparing his speech for the Beijing forum over the weekend, he was appointed to the selection panel charged with choosing a replacement for Securities and Futures Commission chairman Andrew Sheng, who is not renewing his contract when it expires in September. The panel, chaired by Mr Tang, includes Mr Ma, former KPMG chairman Marvin Cheung Kin-tung, legislator Jasper Tsang Yok-sing and businessman Christopher Cheng Wai-chee. It now appears a foreigner could enter the race. The government on Saturday placed an advertisement in the South China Morning Post and appointed a headhunter for a worldwide search. The chairman does not have to be Chinese, although an ability to speak the language will be an advantage. Unlike the stock exchange, which has a local Chinese chairman and chief executive, the SFC's top executives have been an international bunch. Founding chairman Robert Owen is British and he was followed by Australian Robert Nottle and South Asian-born, Hong Kong-raised barrister Anthony Neoh in 1995. Mr Sheng, the longest serving chairman since 1998, is Malaysian Chinese. So it will not be a total surprise to see a non-Hong Kong resident take up the job, as long as the candidate is prepared to accept a change of title - first he will be known as executive chairman of the SFC and later as its chief executive. A bill was tabled in the Legislative Council last month seeking approval to split the role in two: non-executive chairman and chief executive. Mr Lee is tipped by brokers as a front runner for the role of non-executive chairman as he is stepping down as chairman of the HKEx in April next year, having served the maximum six years. Let's wait and see. tokyo calling HKEx will take a delegation of Hong Kong-listed companies to Japan for a roadshow to meet with investors within the next few months. Also eyeing Japan is Tai Fook Securities Group managing director Peter Wong Shiu-hoi, who says the group is aggressively targeting the Japanese market. 'We have noted Japanese investors have great interest in H shares and red chips. We would like to provide the brokering services for these investors,' Mr Wong told White Collar. ' Political relations may be at a low between China and Japan but that will not affect the Japanese investors' interest in investing in the fastest-growing areas in the world.' Tai Fook's website features Japanese as a language choice. This month, the group is offering third-generation online services to clients so that they may check stock information and trade over the phone. This, Mr Wong said, would also help lure Japanese clients. seats taken The two vacancies for the accountancy sub-sector of the 800-member Election Committee have been filled by veteran legislator Eric Li Ka-cheung, who notched up 958 votes, and Democrat Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong, with 546 votes.