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GRC Professional : GRC Summer 2012
PROFILE 24 GRC Professional • Summer 2012 ASHLEY ADLER Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission is introducing reforms to strengthen its position as an international financial centre. Hong Kong’s new chief regulator: Ashley Adler BY LESLEY PARKER Lawyer Ashley Adler returned to Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in October, this time to take the helm as CEO. He talks to GRC Professional about his goals and the challenges that lie ahead as the global financial crisis enters another round. You returned to the SFC after eight years back in private practice. What drew you, and what are your top priorities? After 25 years in private practice as a lawyer, and over 20 years in Hong Kong, I’ve reached that stage in my career where I hope to make a positive contribution to Hong Kong’s development as an international financial centre. Moving into the public sector at the SFC, in my view, is the best way to do this. I hope my experience on both sides of the fence can assist the SFC to deal with the many challenges now before it. One of the top priorities is to position the SFC to facilitate Hong Kong’s development as an international financial centre and a leading offshore RMB [renminbi] hub while holding the line on investor protection. How has the regulatory landscape changed in recent years? The last time I was at the SFC, the regulatory agenda was dominated by corporate governance in the wake of the dot.com bust and scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. This time around our agenda is more complex. Key concerns include global systemic risk and stability and the conduct of financial institutions. You’ve talked about communication as being an important part of the SFC’s role. How so? As a regulator, it’s crucial to maintain effective communication on various levels, especially in view of the global nature of the ongoing financial crisis. It’s therefore important to effectively cooperate with local and overseas regulators and have active participation in international organisations such as IOSCO (International Organization of Securities Commissions) and the FSB (Financial Stability Board). The SFC and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have a longstanding memorandum of understanding that facilitates cooperation. How important is that sort of international cooperation? International cooperation among regulators is crucial. This has much to do with the challenge of implementing the G20 reform initiatives, some of which involve areas of extreme complexity. A good example is the set of proposals concerning the reporting and mandatory clearing of standard OTC [over-the-counter] derivatives. This regulatory initiative demands very close international cooperation
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