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Speech by FS at Chamber of HK Listed Companies 10th anniversary gala dinner (English only)(with photos/video)

     Following is the speech delivered by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the Chamber of Hong Kong Listed Companies 10th Anniversary Celebration cum Hong Kong Corporate Governance Excellence Awards 2012 Gala Dinner this evening (December 13):

K S (Lo), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening.

     I am delighted to join you all tonight for this Gala Dinner. I am sorry that I was somewhat late but I just attended a public forum in Kwai Tsing to hear the community's views on the Policy Address as well as the Budget.

     It was a rather, how should I say it, a noisy but very enthusiastic occasion where divergent views were expressed. Sometimes it was actually quite difficult to hear. Nonetheless it was a valuable forum. I guess some people will call that we are listening to the voice of freedom. We value that.

     But now back to here. Now I would like to congratulate the Chamber of Hong Kong Listed Companies on its 10th anniversary.  Also, I would like to say "well done" to all of the winners of the Hong Kong Corporate Governance Excellence Awards 2012.

     This year is an important milestone for the Chamber and for Hong Kong's development as an international financial centre.

     Hong Kong has been one of the top five listing markets in the world for each one of the past 10 years. Today, there are over 1 500 companies listed on our stock market, with a growing number coming from Mainland China as well as overseas.

     Market capitalisation of the HKEx is the second largest in Asia and sixth largest in the world at over US$2.6 trillion.

     Since 2002, the Chamber has been dedicated to the promotion of sound corporate governance for listed firms. It is also an effective information channel between listed companies and our regulators.

     I'd like to thank the Chamber for its contributions to the Government's consultations on improvements to our Securities and Companies laws. Your input has helped us achieve a reasonable balance between enhancing corporate governance and promoting market development.

     Good corporate governance is vital to upholding the competitiveness of our economy as well as our status as an international financial centre.

     The Securities and Futures (Amendment) Ordinance for disclosure of price sensitive information will come into operation on January 1. The statutory disclosure regime aims to cultivate a disclosure culture among listed corporations, and enhance the transparency and quality of our market.

     Also, after six years of concerted effort, the new Companies Ordinance has been passed by the Legislative Council. This legislation will help enhance corporate governance and ensure better regulation, without stifling the market.

     Significant measures in the new ordinance include clarifying the directors' duty of care, skill and diligence. A new test will hold directors to a higher standard of care in specialist areas, which is in line with moves in other common law jurisdictions.

     The HKEx has also updated the Code on Corporate Governance Practices for Listed Companies. As in previous years, the Exchange will continue to review the issuers' compliance level.

     Since 2007, the Hong Kong Corporate Governance Excellence Awards have helped foster a high standard of corporate governance, business ethics and board leadership in Hong Kong.

     I am pleased that this year's event includes the new Sustainability Excellence Awards that encourage a greater sense of social and environmental commitment.

     Ladies and gentlemen, this Gala Dinner is not just a celebration of the growth of our stock exchange but, perhaps more important, it recognises the increasing quality of our stock market and the companies that list here. This will, in turn, reinforce Hong Kong's position as an international financial centre and the preferred listing destination in Asia, which ultimately means even more work for you, K S, in the Chamber.

     So I would like to congratulate the Chamber of Hong Kong Listed Companies on its 10th anniversary and wish you every success in the years ahead. I would also like to congratulate tonight's award winners and wish everyone a happy Christmas and a prosperous 2013.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Thursday, December 13, 2012
Issued at HKT 22:35


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