For the first time, the ICAC and SFC have joined hands to investigate alleged corruption by a financial services firm.
The joint investigation was into Convoy Financial, one of Hong Kong’s largest financial advice companies, which lead to four arrests, including Convoy’s chief executive at Hong Kong International Airport, and eight locations related to the firm being raided by anti-graft officers.
Setting the scene
SFC chief executive Ashley Alder said the Convoy investigation has “set the scene for future investigations” of a similar nature, reports newspaper South China Morning Post.
Alder told the publication the probe was “very significant” and it had been “extremely useful” to join forces.
The two bodies regulate different areas of Hong Kong’s financial sector.
The ICAC has a mandate to investigate alleged corruption under three main ordinances, these being the ICAC Ordinance, the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and the Elections Ordinance.
The SFC is responsible for regulating the stock market under the Securities and Futures Ordinance.
“The ICAC has a different jurisdiction under a different set of laws, but obviously when there’s something in common we both are investigating,” Alder told the Post.
“We can’t reveal exactly why, but I think it was very significant actually that we worked together, which I think would set the scene for future investigations.”
When asked about future joint operations, Alder said it was “obvious” there would be circumstances where the two bodies would work together again.
He said it was really encouraging the two agencies had worked so well together.
On 7 December, Convoy’s shares were halted from trading after the firm’s share price fell by 7%.
Following the arrests, Convoy appointed three new independent non-executive directors and three executive directors. They include Johnny Chen as interim chairman of the board with effect from 9 December.
Chen said he understood the “immense responsibility” he has in reforming Convoy.
“The new directors are all experts in financial auditing and corporate governance, who are able to bring Convoy back on track with their experiences,” he said.