Hong Kong SFC publishes enforcement priorities for 2018 – Corporate fraud in the spotlight

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has published the third issue of its relaunched Enforcement Reporter newsletter setting out its enforcement priorities for 2018. The newsletter reveals that corporate fraud remains the SFC's top enforcement priority, while other key areas include insider dealing and market manipulation, intermediary misconduct, sponsor misconduct, and money laundering internal control failures.

The SFC continues to adopt a front-loaded regulatory approach through earlier and more targeted intervention, tackling issues as "one SFC" involving collaboration by all relevant divisions.

The newsletter also summarises some key takeaways from the recently updated Guidance Note on Cooperation with the SFC and highlights the significance of four recent enforcement actions.

Hong Kong 13th in global Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index of least corrupt countries

Hong Kong has been ranked the 13th least corrupt place among 180 countries and territories in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, up from 15th last year, although its score of 77 remained the same. This coincides with the 2017 Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Annual Survey in which 99.1% of respondents said they had not personally come across corruption in the last 12 months and only 0.6% of those polled (a total of eight respondents) said they had. 99.2% said they considered keeping Hong Kong corruption-free important to the overall development of Hong Kong. The ICAC, reporting on these findings, noted that corruption in Hong Kong remained well under control and that the city enjoyed staunch support from the public in its anti-graft work.

Meanwhile, China's ranking in the Transparency International index also improved slightly, from 40 to 41 points and from 79th to 77th place. However, despite China's current focus on anti-corruption measures (see here), there is some concern that progress is stagnant – China's score in the 2012 index was 39.