HKEx chairman jumps to defence of mainland firms for avoiding New York Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing chairman Charles Lee Yeh-kwong yesterday hit back at a United States regulator who said mainland companies shied away from listing on the New York Stock Exchange because they could not meet the regulatory requirements. Mr Lee denied that compliance with corporate governance standards was the reason. 'It is related to other issues such as the litigation culture in the US and the regulatory costs, which are too high,' he said. He also pointed out that some mainland companies that had listed on both stock exchanges in the past had experienced much higher trading volume in Hong Kong. 'These factors have led the mainland enterprises to decide to list in Hong Kong only.' Mr Lee was replying to comments from Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox, who said on Sunday that China Construction Bank did not opt for a New York listing because it could not meet the exchange's regulatory requirements. Mr Cox also expressed concerns about CCB's balance sheet and non-performing loans. 'There is no question the CCB offering will be a success in the short run,' he said, but added: 'The question is, where will it be in a year?' CCB shares will start trading on October 27. Mr Lee was giving his first media interview since being appointed to the Executive Council. You can hear it on our South China Morning Post podcast.