HONG KONG, July 2 - Hong Kong's markets watchdoghas told the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) to improve its"Chinese wall" protocols among other changes to better managepotential conflicts of interest. The exchange is both a front line regulator responsible foradministering listing rules and regulating listed companies, andalso a subsidiary of a for-profit company Hong Kong Exchangesand Clearing (HKEX), which generates revenue fromlisting and trading fees. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said in thereport, published on Thursday, that members of SEHK's ListingDepartment, which has a regulatory function, should not attendmeetings with prospective listing applicants alongside HKEXbusiness executives as this "may give an impression that theListing Department is assisting the HKEX business side to winbusiness." It also said that the listing department should take stepsto improve its "Chinese wall" arrangements as the currentprotocol "contains numerous ambiguities ... and may be difficultfor Department staff to interpret and follow." In a response included in the report, HKEX said it has beenactively considering and reviewing, amongst others, the controlsrelating to the organisation and operation of the listingdepartment, and that HKEX's business side no longer invites SEHKListing Department officials to meetings with prospectivecompanies. The SFC periodically reviews the exchange's performance. Hong Kong ranked third in global charts for IPO fundraisinglast year, having raised $24.2 billion, exculding Alibaba's 12.9billion secondary listing, according to Refinitiv data. REUTERS
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