Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020

Hong Kong regulator ends UBS' IPO sponsorship ban early

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s markets watchdog lifted UBS’s (UBSG.S) ban on leading initial public offerings (IPOs) after 10 months, down from an initial one year, after a review of the bank’s enhanced governance processes, the regulator said on Tuesday.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) lifted the ban on UBS, put in place in March and set to expire after a year, with immediate effect, it said in an emailed statement. The ban kept the bank from sponsoring, or leading, IPOs in Hong Kong because of due diligence failings on three prior IPOs and the regulator also fined it HK$375 million ($48 million) at the time.

Helping firms to list is big business in Hong Kong, which was last year’s top listing destination worldwide, according to Refinitiv data.

UBS’ fine and ban was due to failings on the IPOs for China Forestry, Tianhe Chemicals, and China Metal Recycling.

In the case of timber merchant China Forestry, the SFC said UBS did not inspect any of the company’s forests after joining Standard Chartered (STAN.L) as a co-sponsor of the deal in 2009.

The SFC said that the review had found that UBS’ governance and control processes were generally well-designed.

A UBS spokesman declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

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