Hong Kong names accountant Tim Lui Tim-leung to chair Securities and Futures Commission
Tim Lui Tim-leung, the former tax partner of PwC, will succeed Carlson Tong Ka-shing as the third accountant in more than a decade to be made chairman of the watchdog
Hong Kong’s government has appointed a career tax accountant to chair the city’s securities industry watchdog agency, as the incumbent serves out the six-year maximum tenure, according to an announcement.
Tim Lui Tim-leung, the former tax partner of PwC, will succeed Carlson Tong Ka-shing as the third accountant in more than a decade to be chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission, according to the statement, confirming an earlier report by the South China Morning Post.
Lui, 63, was selected because of his three-decade accounting career in one of the world’s largest financial firms, keeping with the SFC’s tradition of picking numbers men for the job, according to two sources familiar with the plans. Tong retired as chairman of KPMG before his appointment in 2012 as the agency’s second chairman. Eddy Fong Ching, the SFC’s non-executive chairman from 2006 to 2012, was also a senior PwC partner until his retirement in 2003.
As a retired accountant, Lui would avoid any potential conflicts of interest, the sources said. His familiarity with Hong Kong’s capital market also made Lui the ideal candidate for the job, they said.
Lui was born in Hong Kong to a wealthy family.
His former family home, known as the Lui Seng Chun, is a four-storey tong lau tenement in Mong Kok built in 1931, that has been declared a Grade 1 historical building. It was renovated and refurbished in 2012 and is now being used by the Baptist University as a Chinese medicine and health care centre.
Lui studied for 12 years in Britain, where he obtained a Master of Business Administration degree before joining Coopers & Lybrand’s London office as an articled clerk. He returned to Hong Kong in the early 1980s to the same firm, which later was merged with Price Waterhouse to become PwC, rising to the ranks to senior partner until his retirement.
Lui, awarded Hong Kong’s Silver Bauhinia award in 2017, is also a deputy to China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress.
Lui will step down as a senior adviser at PwC at the end of September before taking up the position at the SFC for a three-year term starting on October 20.
“I retired as senior partner at PWC a few years ago, and have not handled any client operations since. I still have an advisory role but I will step down from this role to concentrate on the SFC,” Lui told the Post in a telephone interview after the government announced his appointment on Friday evening.
“The chairman of the SFC is there to help the board set the overall direction for the commission. I have a lot of experience doing that at PwC. There is a strong management team at the SFC led by chief executive Ashley Alder. I will work with Mr Alder and other key management people to led the SFC and protect the interests of investors, and to maintain its competitiveness in the international market,” said Lui.
“The current volatile market will be one of the major challenges for the SFC. There are also some controversial reforms going on, such as the proposal to tighten margin lending at brokerage firms, to reduce risks in the market,” he said. “The SFC will also need to continue to regulate the market to make sure it is fair and transparent.”
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said Lui had broad experience in different areas, including education, strategic development, tax, levy management and student finance.
“Mr Lui is a highly respected member of the financial services sector, with rich experience in the financial market in Hong Kong and elsewhere. We are confident that under his leadership, the SFC will continue to maintain and promote the fair, transparent and orderly operation and development of our securities and futures markets,” he said.
Alder, the commission’s CEO, said: “I look forward to working closely with Mr Lui and the board in furthering our core mission to protect the integrity and quality of Hong Kong’s financial markets.”
Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, a stockbroker who is also a lawmaker representing the financial sector, said Lui was a suitable choice.
“Mr Lui is very professional and humble. He is well connected to the Hong Kong and mainland financial sectors. We hope he can continue the style of Mr Tong, who maintained close contacts with the brokerage sector to listen to our views,” said Cheung.