Letter to South China Morning Post

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“More relevant template from Malaysia”

I am the author of IPO: A Global Guide and refer to Enoch Yiu’s White Collar column (“Fresh reminder of need to end muddle over HKEx roles”, October 1). She said “London and Singapore have long ago brought in independent regulators to be involved in the listing approval process for companies undergoing IPOs”.

It is true that in London, responsibility for the approval of prospectuses and admission of companies to the Official List lies with the U.K. Listing Authority.

But in Singapore, it is actually the Singapore Exchange that reviews draft prospectuses, provides comments and raises points for clarification by the company and its advisers prior to issuing an eligibility-to-list letter. After the prospectus has been lodged on its website for comment by the public, the Monetary Authority of Singapore then conducts a fairly short review process for compliance with statutory requirements, prior to registering the prospectus.

This in effect is fairly similar to the interaction that exists in Hong Kong between the exchange and the Securities and Futures Commission.

KL skyline

While I agree that the de facto duplication between the stock exchange and the SFC in reviewing prospectuses is to some extent counterproductive, and raises potential conflicts of interest, Singapore is not the best example of a U.K. or U.S.-style regulatory approach to initial public offerings in the region. Malaysia, where prospectuses are reviewed by the Securities Commission Malaysia prior to companies listing on Bursa Malaysia, provides a much more relevant template for Hong Kong to follow.

Philippe Espinasse