The Securities and Futures Commission will play a more proactive part and the role of the Hong Kong stock market should be reviewed, said SFC chief executive Ashley Alder yesterday.
"We are no longer acting behind the scenes, but instead we are increasing our direct presence when dealing with the more crucial listing matters that fall within the scope of the SMLR or the SFO," said Alder, referring to stock market listing rules and the Securities and Futures Ordinance.
"If you look at what we have down in the past few months, which has been quite obvious in terms of the number of actions we have taken, I have to say we take action in serious cases."
He mentioned several cases the regulator has come across. "In one case, we were concerned about the company's relationship and dealings with its largest supplier. It appeared that we had been given false information about this."
Commenting on the recent small- cap rout, he said: "There is a phenomenon of very complicated network relationship, which includes not only a listed company but also brokerages and possibly a private fund. It is extremely unhealthy."
He said the market has to step back and think about the structure, in which "a big challenge is to redress imbalances so there is a healthier level of supply of interested companies at the top end and greater demand by investors for more diverse companies at the lower end."
The SFC at the same time published the first issue of "SFC Regulatory Bulletin: Listed Corporations" to provide guidance on the way the SFC will perform.
The bulletin said the SFC is taking steps under the SMLR and SFO to intervene in serious cases at an early stage.
A exchange survey found there was little change in the contribution of investors by type or origin last year.
Overseas investors contributed 40 percent and local investors 36 percent of the 2016 trading value.
The Financial Reporting Council will set up an independent auditing investigation organization once the proposal on reviewing audit practices is approved, said council chairman John Poon, citing Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po.