Hong Kong’s SFC registers 20% rise in license applications

Financial firms licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) rose 20% to a record 2,030 during the April-June quarter, compared with the same time last year, according to data by Hong Kong’s financial watchdog.

Fund managers, private equity investors, brokers and other financial firms have been drawn to Asia’s third-largest financial market as a number of companies are set to launch their initial public offerings.

The number of corporate applications, however, dropped 10.7% from the last quarter to 75, down 6.3% year-on-year, according to the report.

As at June 30, 2018, the number of licensees and registrants totalled 45,099, up 4.4% from last year, and the number of licensed corporations grew 8.9% to 2,775. Both were record highs.

The boom in Hong Kong’s finance industry comes at a time when $16.6bn of shares changed hands everyday on average in the first five months of the year.

A number of high profile companies, including several big technology companies, are expected to come to market this year. Analysts forecast a total of $25.5bn in funds will be raised by IPO activities in Hong Kong this year alone.

The SFC also stepped up on its enforcements and supervision. “We disciplined five licensed corporations and three representatives during the quarter, resulting in total fine s4 of HK$83.5 million,” the regulator said.

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