Two incidents last week showed it may be worth the government's while to consider a super financial regulator covering the whole sweep of banks, brokers, insurance companies, fund management companies and pension fund providers. Last Monday, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) - the mainland banking regulator - signed a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong's securities watchdog, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The purpose of the memorandum was that the CBRC plans to allow mainland and Hong Kong banks licensed under the qualified domestic institutional investors programme to invest mainlanders' money in SFC-authorised funds, a source said. In a separate case the next day, ICICI Bank - India's second-largest lender - and four officers were fined a total of HK$83,000 in Eastern Court and ordered to pay HK$81,524 in costs after staff dealt in securities for clients without an SFC licence. The trading occurred from 2004 until the local banking regulator, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, found out and referred the case to the SFC in March last year. Both cases illustrate a simple fact - financial institutions are crossing borders and regulators need to refer to each other. So, why doesn't Hong Kong consider following the British example, in which a super-regulator, the Financial Services Authority, was set up a few years ago? A government official rejected the suggestion, saying even in the single-regulator model, such as the Financial Services Authority, there were different departments to handle banks, brokers, and so forth. White Collar found this argument far from convincing. If we look at the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, the combined stocks and futures markets and the three clearing houses have enjoyed the benefits of cost cutting and improved efficiency as the market has surged in size since the merger in 2000. Of course, we should not jump into conclusions, which is precisely the reason why the government should study the issue. Hang Seng stays off brokers' turf Hang Seng Bank is expanding into insurance, funds, brokerages and other types of investment businesses. But Andrew Fung Hau-chung, deputy general manager and head of investment and insurance at the bank and the guest of our podcast and video report this week, said banks were not in direct competition with brokers. 'We have a different client segment. Brokers have their loyal customers who gather at the brokers' office to trade as a kind of social gathering. 'For Hang Seng, most of our customers in fact never go to a branch, but they like to use the internet to do trading,' he said. Standing up for the status quo John Strickland, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing director and former Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp chairman, confirmed to White Collar he would run for re-election to the HKEx board at the April 26 annual general meeitng. He has been a director since 2000. Mr Strickland and Oscar Wong Sai-Hung, who is also seeking re-election, are the only two candidates for the two vacancies on the board. Nevertheless, the former banker has prepared a platform. If re-elected, he 'will continue to advocate balanced attention to the interests of all stakeholders in the stock and futures exchanges in Hong Kong'. Students play follow the leader Top university students may have a chance to experience real-life business operations through the Business Students' Shadowing Attachment Programme co-organised by the Advisory Committee on Human Resources Development in the financial services sector and Lingnan University. Under the programme, students will be attached to executives of major financial organisations for one day. Twenty financial organisations have signed up, providing 70 places this month.