Call to check fee structures

Sean Kennedy

FINANCIAL Services Secretary Michael Cartland yesterday categorically rejected the idea of reducing stamp duty, hinting that brokers should examine their fee structures instead.

After a presentation by the Hong Kong Coalition of Service Industries, Mr Cartland said the duty had been brought down already to the point where it represented a negligible proportion of the transaction costs.

He said there is less of a case for reducing stamp duty than for looking at brokerage fees.

Financial Secretary Sir Hamish Macleod reportedly is prepared to consider further reducing stamp duty only if brokers agree to negotiate their fee structures instead relying on the minimum 0.25 per cent commission.

'We do not believe there is a convincing case or that a convincing case has been brought forward for reducing the stamp duty,' Mr Cartland said.

The wave of activity in Hong Kong's stock market despite the downturn in the Hang Seng suggested that the duty was not strangling trade, he said.