I spoke late last week to a rather charming fellow in Hong Kong who has just joined index provider MSCI as vice president of ESG research.
What will it take for Hong Kong’s IPO underwriters to take the regulators seriously? Last week’s comments from the city’s top enforcer, who said 15 firms had failed in their duties as IPO sponsors, with some engaging in what he described as “reckless” behaviour, were met with barely a shrug from the broader ECM community.
Has globalisation bitten the dust? Signs of its demise are not hard to uncover, from the recent independence election in Catalonia, to Brexit, to the widespread unpopularity of multilateral institutions, to the surge in last month’s elections of the far-right AfD party in Germany and the imminent entry of the Freedom party in Austria.
Malaysia’s credit guarantee fund is looking to lift its profile in the local capital markets after a decline in earnings in the first half of the year.
I was in Berlin last week for the annual conference of the Principles for Responsible Investment, the United Nations-supported organisation that aims to foster the employment of environmental, social and corporate governance standards (ESG) among global investors.
It’s not often, in my experience at least, that a conversation with a stranger on a long-haul flight turns out to be both useful and edifying from a professional perspective. But that’s what happened to me last week as British Airways ferried me from Singapore to London.
The latest iteration in the drawn-out epic of alleged financial malfeasance at Malaysia’s 1MDB seems straight out of a pulp fiction potboiler. That comes as no surprise, given what has come before, but it is a chilling example of a mindset of fear which has come to grip the citizens of that country.
Expanding stock trading links between Hong Kong and China to cover IPOs is an exciting next step for both markets. It’s also likely to disappoint investors on both sides.
When it comes to the financial markets, South Korea’s biggest problem is China, not its northern neighbour.
Hong Kong maverick Sir David Tang passed away last week at the relatively young age of 63, and the timing of his death seemed peculiarly valedictory for the Hong Kong of old.
Reports of the death of traditional capital raising are greatly exaggerated, at least for the time being. Recent offerings of digital coins have caught investors’ attention, even exceeding the US$200m mark in some cases, but old-fashioned bankers can rest easy while the technology remains confined to closed loops.
When it comes to Chinese bond issues, a giant underwriting syndicate offers little protection against unforced errors.
I marvel at China’s financial system, even though I’m aware that a mountain of bad debt is looming in the background. The latter seems to be one of those facts that markets learn to live with, so that anyone prepared to go long credit or equities is a little like playing the game of truth or dare.