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Hong Kong market watchdog ups trading floor inspections

Rachel Armstrong Reuters 01/13/2012 19:40
Hong Kong market watchdog ups trading floor inspections - Business - Finance - Hong Kong

Hong Kong's financial watchdog has ramped up inspections of trading floors and asset management houses in the city as concerns grow that choppy market conditions could push some firms to the brink of failure.

The Securities and Futures Commission said it had stepped up surveillance of brokerages and fund managers to check their trading positions and ensure client money is properly segregated so there would be no repeat of the missing customer funds at collapsed U.S. brokerage MF Global.

"The frequency of inspections has certainly gone up over the last few months compared with the last couple of years," said Jane McBride, head of compliance services at law firm Deacons in Hong Kong.

The SFC's latest figures for inspections of licensed financial firms, which are for the six months to Sept. 30, 2011, show the regulator carried out 157 "risk-based on-site inspections", up 37.7 percent from a year earlier.

The regulator told Reuters that ongoing market turmoil in the latter half of last year meant they had put an increasing focus on checking the viability of the city's financial firms during their inspections.