Articles: Company & securities law
HKIDs and Government secrecy
Webb-site calls on Government to abandon plans to restrict access to HKIDs, and instead to promote their use as unique identifiers of individuals and eliminate their misuse as authenticators. A media exemption would imply media controls. We launch an index of HKIDs which are already on the web. The Companies Registry and Land Registry should tear down the pay-wall and provide open online access to all documents. (12-Feb-2013)
Decapitate the headcount
We make the case for abolition of the archaic and anarchic headcount rule in Schemes of Arrangement, which was brought into focus when we reported evidence of a vote-rigging scheme in the proposed PCCW privatisation in 2009. For once, the tycoons agree with us, but the Government seems afraid to take the lead. (12-Mar-2012)
HK recognises Principality of Hutt River
The HK Companies Registry seems prepared to register overseas companies incorporated in an Australian farm not recognised by the UN or any of its members. (21-Jan-2012)
Mimi Wong Kar Gee v Applied Development (0519) and her ex-husband
HK Court of First Instance, 30-Aug-2011
Ms Wong alleges that company funds were used to decorate the home of Mr Hung's alleged mistress and to employ her for a non-job. As a shareholder, she seeks access to company documents to investigate this, in the first case to be brought under s152FA of the Companies Ordinance since it came into force on 15-Jul-2005. The judge's liberal interpretation of this section provides encouragement to future activism, although he highlights a flaw in the law - it does not extend to documents of subsidiaries unless the parent has copies already.
Retail trader Mr Liang Lin acquitted of market manipulation
Cardlink is now named Phoenitron (8066). We note that total volume in the stock that day was 6.455m shares and turnover was $6.825m, an average price of $1.057, which was 45.0% above the previous close. The stock reached a high that day of $1.10 and closed the day at $0.65. Perhaps the more salient question is whether or not this kind of arrangement amounts to a fraud on the Immigration Department.
Your ID number is not a password
There is a common misconception that HK identity card numbers are secrets, a misconception that Government is promoting by its policy actions, putting us on the road to increased abuse of the HKID and higher economic losses from fraud. To prevent this, the register of ID numbers and names should be published, after a transition to allow commercial abusers to stop abusing the ID for authentication. This article also looks at the unfulfilled potential of the Smart ID Card, including biometric authentication and electronic money. (8-Nov-2010)
Retail investor sentenced for false trading
Comment: the SFC contended that he intended the matched trades and wash trades "to attract buyers to the stock so he could sell out at better prices" - but if an increase in volume really attracts buyers, then why wouldn't it also attract sellers? We have trouble following the logic of the SFC's contention.
What are markets really for? Does the law on market manipulation, and its enforcement, create unreasonable expectations from investors about the information in market prices, volumes and order queues? We say it does. It is time for the Government and SFC to review their approach and reset public expectations. We also look at shill bidding in auctions. (12-Jul-2010)
Multiple statutory derivative actions
David Webb responds to the Legislative Council's invitation for comments on proposed amendments to the statutory derivative actions regime. In its current form it is unlikely to be useful to public shareowners of listed companies, but we suggest how to improve it. We also call on the Administration and Legislators to get behind class actions, litigation finance and contingent legal fees. Justice is the friend of fair societies, and litigation is the path to it. (18-Apr-2010)
Companies Bill 2002
Hong Kong is proposing some changes to the Companies Ordinance. Webb-site.com editor David Webb will be presenting a submission to the Legislative Council Bills Committee today, and you can read his submission online. We also look back at the glacial pace of reform since 1973. (15-Oct-2002)