Securities reforms to lift exchanges
China's securities authorities have announced a slew of market reforms to buoy investor gloom.
Officials have pledged to intensify infrastructure construction and protect investors.
"Infrastructure makeovers in product diversity and corporate performance have already brought some positive changes to China's capital market over the past few years," said Shang Fulin, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). "But there is still far more work to be done to solve all the problems," he added.
Speaking at a conference late last week, Shang said reform and development of the capital market was at a crucial stage.
"We have to see the challenges and opportunities as well," he said.
He pledged to focus on building market infrastructure and implementing the reforms proposed by a guideline document issued by the State Council last February on the capital market development.
"Such reforms have just started. It will be a long-term endeavour and requires steady efforts," said Shang.
The authorities will "gradually resolve the deep-rooted structural problems" in the capital market and CSRC will improve its own working efficiency, he added.
The CSRC conference has attracted much public attention as investors expect a fresh policy boost to stimulate the bourses that had been badly hurt by the bearish performance for more than three years. Last year, the benchmark Shanghai composite index plunged by 15.4 per cent and it continued to move down in the first trading week of 2005.
How to rebuild investors' confidence has therefore become a prime concern for the authorities.
"In answer to that, the CSRC will continue with the reform on the stock issue system to ensure the quality of listed firms and the efficiency of financing activities in the stock market," Shang said.
"And public investors will have their legal interests protected," he added.
Investors have been longing for concrete stock market reforms for some time.
"The biggest problem is with the irrational structure of the stocks that is brought by the existence of many nontradable State and legal person shares," said Zhu Jianfang, an analyst with China Securities Co.
The solution is the basic cure of feeble investment sentiment. Regulators have to show their determination, he added.
"Some of the problems are caused by insufficient protection of the lawful interest of investors, though some are also sourced from legal, systematic and cultural factors," said Fan Fuchun, vice-chairman of CSRC, at the work conference.
"The implementation of investor protection is a prerequisite for the construction of a harmonious environment in the capital market," he added.
Fan also urged listed firms, securities houses and fund managers to ensure standard operation with truthful and sufficient information disclosure.
The CSRC will also enhance supervision to discover the irregularities as early as possible and minimize damage to the market.
Last year, 133 companies issued stocks in the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges. Securities investment funds is the shining point in the market, with a total issuing scale of 186.3 billion yuan (US$22.5 billion) domestically during the year, which exceeded the total volume of all such funds issued in the country over the past five years.