Move aims to counter concerns over inflated valuations of listed companies' assets A group of professional bodies has united to issue a set of unified guidelines for business valuation practitioners in Hong Kong to counter growing concerns over inflated valuations for the assets of listed companies. The standards, issued by the Hong Kong Business Valuation Forum organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Hong Kong Society of Financial Analysts, is the latest move to improve the accountability of listed companies. The guidelines follow concerns expressed by the Securities and Future Commission in a consultation paper released in 2003. Asset valuation has been in the spotlight since a series of high-profile scandals which culminated in the spectacular collapse in 2002 of the Shenyang orchid grower Euro-Asia Agricultural (Holdings) as well as the many firms that folded during the bursting of the dotcom bubble. The industry has been particularly concerned about mainland companies seeking Hong Kong listings since China still has no standards for valuations. According to HKIS president Cheung Tat-tong, the forum will provide a unified business valuation standard based on international valuation standards and will be released at the end of the year. 'It will give extra protection to the public interest. There was no uniform standard to regulate and guide the works of business valuation practitioners in Hong Kong. The business valuers will now have a shared list to follow,' he said. The forum will also introduce a list of registered business valuers whose vetting and approval processes will be completed by the end of this year and will become effective in January. Qualified members of the three institutes can apply to be listed on a voluntary basis. 'I expect there will be about 100 to 200 listed business valuers. They are mostly practitioners who are already doing business valuation,' said Yu Kam-hung, chairman of the general practice division council at HKIS. Under the guidelines, listed business valuers can be subjected to disciplinary procedures by the forum and individual institutes. The requirements for listing include a minimum of five years' experience in the field of which a minimum of three years must relate directly to business valuation. Valuers must also have been responsible for at least one business valuation.