Bond Connect marks another milestone as China opens up its capital market and integrates into the global financial system. Following the implementation of Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Bond Connect is the third trading link between Hong Kong and the Mainland that will serve as the important gateway for overseas investors to enter Mainland markets.
Initial coin offerings or ICOs are growing rapidly. Essentially a method of crowdfunding facilitated through blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, ICOs are reported to have raised almost US$1.3 billion globally in just the first half of 2017 despite being denounced by some commentators as Ponzi schemes. Companies and financial institutions are keen to explore the possibilities of ICOs – whether as a fundraising method or to cash in by acting as advisers or arrangers.
The trend of increasing enforcement focus on individuals is consistent with the regulatory emphasis on culture and conduct in recent years. Management of financial institutions must lead with the right guiding values, failing which individual directors and executives would be held personally responsible for any non-compliance by their firms.
The Australian Banking Royal Commission Final Report: Impact on the Australian financial services regulatory landscape and ripple effects in Asia (May 2019)
The Final Report of the Australian Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry was released in February 2019. The Report details a range of issues and lays out the Commission's responses and some 76 recommendations for legal and regulatory reform. Key among these are recommendations designed to address identified cultural failings pervading both the industry and its regulators, particularly the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), to take proper account of the public interest in its pursuit of enforcement outcomes. What is clear is that the reforms will give rise to a new era of more intensive regulatory scrutiny by ASIC, including more investigations, enhanced cooperation and information-sharing between regulators.