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Goodbye to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange: complex personnel, frequent changes in executives, and someone to do digital currency exchanges
There have been six new changes in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange so far, including Ma Yingxin, the group’s legal counsel who just submitted his resignation in August, Ji Liheng, the outgoing risk director, and Li Gang, the head of the market development department.
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has entered a period of turbulence. Since Chief Executive Li Xiaojia decided not to renew his appointment: frequent management changes.
Compared with the list of 12 managers announced in the 2019 annual report, there have been six new changes in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange so far, including Ma Yingxin, the group legal counsel who just submitted for resignation in August, and the upcoming risk director Ji Liheng, and Li Gang, director of the market development department, etc.
Earlier, Dai Linhan, head of the listing section of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, had resigned at the end of last year, before Li Xiaojia proposed not to renew.
Among them, the resume of Zhou Qihua, the head of human resources of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is no longer on the official website, and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange said that it has proposed retirement. But the reporter learned that her real plan was to leave.
The reporter was informed that Luo Li, co-president of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, will also leave in the near future. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has no comment on this.
Luo Li is the right-hand man Li Xiaojia brought from JPMorgan Chase, the actual second-in-chief in the business management of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In addition to these managements, there have been many resignations from other business executives of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, including Shi Lin, the co-head of the Listing Division who resigned from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in May 2020.
Although the reasons for these managers to submit to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for resignation are different, what is puzzling is why they concentrated on this period of time and decided to leave the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Except for Shi Lin and Dai Linhan, the other senior executives of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange have not disclosed or confirmed new trends.
Frequent changes in personnel management
Shi Lin’s departure surprised many people, compared to other senior executives who had left. Shi Lin was the co-head of the listing section of the most important business section of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange before leaving. In the past 11 years, the amount of IPO funds raised by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has been the world’s top 7 times, of which more than 310 billion Hong Kong dollars have been raised in 2019.
In fact, since Yang Jinlong, another co-director, was investigated for corruption in June 2019, until the end of April this year, Shi Lin was actually the only one who provoked the lead.
However, on April 29, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange announced that Liu Ying would serve as co-head of the Listing Division together with Shi Lin. Liu Ying changed from Shi Lin’s subordinate to a colleague at the same level.
A week later, the reporter learned of Shi Lin’s application for resignation, which was less than half a year after Shi Lin’s supervisor of the listing department, Dai Linhan, left the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Shi Lin was found by Dai Linhan through a headhunter in 2013.
An insider who did not want to be named told reporters that Shi Lin had the idea of leaving after learning that Dai Linhan was leaving the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and began to look for new opportunities.
After the newly appointed head of the Listing Section, Chen Yiting succeeded Dai Linhan in February, he quickly promoted Liu Ying and became the co-head of the Listing Section.
The above-mentioned insiders said that Shi Lin’s decision is not surprising. Chen Yiting served in the Listing Division from 2007 to 2010, and this time it is equivalent to a high rise. The reporter learned from different sources that Chen Yiting was found by Shi Meilun, chairman of the board of directors of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and the two had a good personal relationship. Regarding this statement, the reporter was unable to contact the two for comment.
Chen Yiting is a Hong Kong native. He speaks a lot of Cantonese and Mandarin is not standard. He is classified as the “Hong Kong school” of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Chen’s predecessor, Dai Linhan, was British, and those who spoke English daily at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange such as Shi Lin were called “foreigners.” Dai Linhan resigned at the end of last year and is now a full-time director of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in the UK.
Shi Lin told reporters that although she is also good in Mandarin, she does not speak Cantonese and communicates in English at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. She also revealed that due to language issues, she and many colleagues in the marketing department did not have much communication other than work. Some colleagues even revealed that she was afraid of her and thought she was too serious.
Regarding the reason for her resignation, Shi Lin boils down to the fact that she has spent 7 years on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which is the longest time she has ever held. After Dai Linhan left, she felt it was time to change to a more challenging job.
Before entering the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, she worked as an in-house lawyer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for more than 5 years. Earlier, she moved from the US headquarters of the law firm Allen&Overy to the Hong Kong office during SARS. At that time, there were not many American lawyers willing to come to Hong Kong. She felt that she could try to challenge once, but she did not expect to have lived in Hong Kong for so many years.
In her words, for 7 years in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, she has witnessed a lot of listing reform history. From the beginning, they and the Hong Kong Securities Regulatory Commission tried to strive for Alibaba’s listing in Hong Kong in 2013 but failed, until last year Alibaba successfully returned to Hong Kong for its second listing. In these cases, she also saw the overly conservative side of the Hong Kong regulatory authorities. Some of her and her team’s new ideas were repeatedly rejected. The reason is not complicated: the regulators are too cautious in innovating.
Compared with Shi Lin, the same feeling of leaving from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is even deeper. While at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Gao Han was the head of the China Customer Relations and Marketing Department of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and Li Gang, who is about to leave, both belonged to the listing development department. Gao Han is mainly responsible for the promotion of Hong Kong Stock Exchange products in the Mainland, including Southbound Stock Connect and Bond Connect.
Like other international exchanges, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has been trying to apply blockchain technology. Gao Han had hoped to try to innovate with blockchain technology when he was at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This kind of innovation is equivalent to using blockchain technology and tokenization to achieve partial applications in the primary and secondary markets.
This blueprint is good enough. In the eyes of the outside world, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has all the resources, experience, and capital that are indeed very suitable for this experiment.
Before leaving the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in early 2018, Gao Han had been doing internal deductions and spent half a year looking for a specific solution, but it failed in the end. Some insiders analyzed that as Hong Kong’s regulatory agency, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has too many constraints, and more consideration may be that the blockchain innovation will lead to excessive risks.
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is more cautious about the risk control of new technologies. Regarding the rumors of his trial of blockchain being understood as a digital currency from time to time, Li Xiaojia had to run out and emphasized that “The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has never entered the field of digital currency. What we want to explore is the application of new technologies such as blockchain technology. .”
So Gao Han decided to set up a digital asset exchange by himself.
Shi Lin’s new destination: digital currency exchange
This digital exchange was the new destination that Shi Lin later disclosed to the public: Gao Han’s startup company Hong Kong Digital Currency Exchange.
Shi Lin is very clear about the reason for joining this company. In the past few months after leaving the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, she has been hoping to find a new direction, such as Fintech or blockchain. In her words, she is a lawyer who has been to a law firm and also worked in an investment bank. Now she leaves the regulatory agency and does not want to repeat her previous work. She hopes to have a new work direction related to lawyers.
Although she has participated in many fintech forums and talked about some potential opportunities, she did not see a particularly suitable opportunity. Unlike many people who dare not leave during the epidemic, Shi Lin thought after taking the initiative to leave her job that if there is no particularly suitable opportunity in the end, she will consider taking a break for a while, or retire early. After all, there is no financial pressure.
Around July this year, she met with Gao Han after being recommended by a friend, and then decided to join.
In 2018, Gao Han restarted his idea when he was in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and named it the Hong Kong Digital Asset Exchange. It is equivalent to using the underlying technology of the blockchain to digitally trade some assets that have not yet been listed on the public market. Unlike the traditional listing sector, except for the underlying technology of the blockchain, these transactions are all traded through digital currencies. The intention is to increase financing and exit channels for projects that are still undergoing Series C or Series D financing.
Six months later, he recruited Zuo Tao, the technical partner of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at the time, to join him. Compared with conventional digital asset exchanges, in addition to virtual currency transactions, Gao Han’s exchanges are more important to do STO, that is, the issuance of security tokens.
This is equivalent to IPO of digital asset projects. This has been tried for some time in exchanges such as Singapore. On July 10, 2019, 1exchange, the STO exchange in which Singapore Exchange invested, launched its first project. Earlier in November 2016, the Financial Supervisory Authority of Singapore issued the Fintech Regulatory Sandbox Guidelines-which is exactly what the Hong Kong Securities Regulatory Commission is currently doing. The latest action of Hong Kong supervision is to plan to issue virtual exchange licenses after the sandbox guidelines.
Gao Han told reporters that although the Hong Kong Digital Asset Exchange was only established in 2018, it has been communicating with regulatory agencies in the past two years, hoping to become one of the first license agencies to obtain the guidance of the regulatory sandbox.
Prior to this, there have been three or four digital asset exchanges including BC Technology Group (00863.HK), which have communicated with the Hong Kong Securities Regulatory Commission for a long time, but as of now, the Hong Kong Securities Regulatory Commission has not issued any virtual exchange licenses. . Gao Han’s exchange may become one of the first companies to obtain a license. According to the reporter, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange does not plan to issue licenses in batches, but to issue them one by one.
Although STO can be traded on exchanges in different countries and regions through tokens to achieve cross-border and inter-time transactions, some insiders also said that the biggest problem now lies in the liquidity of these projects. In the case of Singapore, the current liquidity is not very good.
Earlier, there have been some domestic intermediaries specializing in project prospectus to submit STOs in the United States, but the fundraising has not been smooth, and no successful cases have been seen.
The key issue here is that the STO rules are equivalent to the current listing rules for traditional exchanges. Gao Han said that this is also a problem that all exchanges need to face.
“This is the reason why we need to cooperate with Shi Lin.” Gao Han said without shy. As a former co-head of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s Listing Division, Shi Lin is a lawyer who is familiar with Hong Kong’s supervision and listing rules. More importantly, Shi Lin has always communicated smoothly with supervisors.
Shi Lin told reporters that the digital exchanges in Hong Kong are crossing the river by feeling the stones, and she does not have a very clear framework. In the end, she has to repeatedly communicate with the regulators to understand what kind of rules are suitable for the current regulatory requirements. of. She also said that STO rules require a complete set of methods for how to achieve valuations in various industries. These are not easy to achieve all at once, and need time and cases to promote.
Gao Han also agrees with this point of view, and believes that there is no hurry at the moment, and the digital exchange STO business will mature soon after two or three years. What Gao Han is most proud of is that compared with many previous digital exchanges in Hong Kong, the biggest feature of the Hong Kong Digital Exchange is the founding team. In addition to Wang Shibin from the investment banking team, he and Zuo Tao, who is in charge of technology, and responsible Shi Lin, who is in charge of regulations, and Sam Liu, who is in charge of risk control, both come from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Regarding the expectations of the STO sector, Gao Han is very repulsive of the early years of Hong Kong’s digital currency market, and even many issuing air coins or air projects. He hopes that his STO project will first be a project that truly solves the purpose of corporate financing, or a project that is close to digital assets such as 5G and AI.
The background of the founding team of the Hong Kong Digital Exchange may become a bonus item when the Hong Kong Securities Regulatory Commission is issuing licenses. Gao Han said that this is also the main reason why the team has been able to attract more than 100 institutional investors in the past year or so. Gao Han revealed that among these institutional investors, there are some large Central Central Fund companies, and some are clients of his early days at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
These team members who have resigned from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are eagerly waiting for the issuance of a compliance license to show off their skills.