The stock exchange should not strive to introduce the same strict regulatory standards imposed on listed companies in the United States as they could make life cumbersome for the firms, the head of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said yesterday. HKEx chief executive Paul Chow Man-yiu made his comments at a China initial public offering conference, where he spoke about 'bringing sustainable success to the Hong Kong primary market' as well as Hong Kong's role as the premier capital market for the mainland. However, he stressed that the issue was not that Hong Kong should lower its current international standards and practices. 'If we do that, we will lose our attractiveness. Our standards should be close to the leading markets but we should not be the leader,' Mr Chow said, adding that the local exchange was not considering adopting the equivalent of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Act was introduced in the US to tighten financial reporting and disclosure practices in public companies following the numerous corporate scandals involving alleged fraud that emerged in 2002. Those requirements 'can make a listing so burdensome for the issuers that it will jeopardise the focus on their main business and impact profits and returns to shareholders', Mr Chow said. 'We have to be very cautious [about our approach].' Hong Kong is the fourth-largest exchange in terms of equity funds raised in the first eight months of this year, with $153 billion worth of new issuance. Initial public offerings have accounted for $68.7 billion of the total, with 90 per cent of that raised by mainland enterprises. Including China Construction Bank's listing next month and the Housing Authority's Link Reit offer later in the year, the tally for the full year should be well above $100 billion. That would surpass not only the $97.2 billion raised last year but possibly the record $131 billion chalked up in 2000, as CCB and Link Reit alone are looking to tap the market for at least $60 billion. And the pipeline was showing no signs of slowing down, with China's big state-owned banks all looking for a listing, followed by many smaller regional and commercial banks, Mr Chow said. The top 10 initial public offerings since 1986 are all by mainland enterprises and this year, seven of the top 10 new listings are based in China, HKEx data shows.