Hong Kong watchdog still watching IPO sponsor banks, has several open cases

Hong Kong IPOs need at least one sponsoring bank that typically takes the lead in running the IPO

  
A panel outside the Hong Kong Exchanges displays top active securities during morning trading in Hong Kong, China October 11, 2018.

A panel outside the Hong Kong Exchanges displays top active securities during morning trading in Hong Kong, China October 11, 2018.

REUTERS/Bobby Yip

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's markets watchdog expects to penalise more brokers for misconduct over listings in the financial hub, particularly smaller firms, its enforcement director said on Wednesday, despite some large fines levied recently.

The fines for high-profile firms, such as UBS and Morgan Stanley, were part of a long-running campaign to improve listing standards after newly traded firms were hit by a slew of scandals.

"We have a number of open cases that will definitely end up in enforcement action," said Tom Atkinson of the city's Securities and Futures Commission.

"I think the enforcement actions we’ve taken have done a lot to change behaviour with the large firms ... but there are still the smaller firms," he said at a conference organised by the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

In 2019, the regulator suspended for 10 months UBS's licence to sponsor IPOs, besides fining it and Morgan Stanley, among others, $100 million for failings in due diligence regarding three initial public offerings.

Hong Kong IPOs need at least one sponsoring bank that typically takes the lead in running the IPO and is responsible for performing due diligence to assess the company being listed and assure investors that its IPO prospectus is accurate.

(Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) ((alun.john@thomsonreuters.com;))


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