China legislature drafting reforms on securities, futures

SHANGHAI Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:42pm EST

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SHANGHAI Dec 11 (Reuters) - China is revising the country's securities law and writing a futures law, the legislature said on Tuesday, as the government moves to implement ambitious financial reform goals approved by top leaders last month.

The legal changes underway include codifying plans to shift from an approval-based system for initial public offerings to a registration system, state media reported, lowering a major hurdle for companies trying to raise funds on the country's stock exchange.

The news coincides with a China Securities Journal report noting the regulator of state-owned businesses was contemplating creating new bureaucracies to improve the efficiency of state firms.

The finance and economics committee of the National People's Congress, China's rubber-stamp parliament, is also considering changes to the laws on mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, and investor protection, the parliament said in an announcement posted on its website on Tuesday.

China's IPO market has been frozen since October 2012, and more than 850 companies are currently waiting for IPO approval.

A reform blueprint approved by Communist Party leaders last month promised a shift to a market-based system where regulators focus on information disclosure but leave judgments on risk and profit potential to investors.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission, which approves new issues, said last month that a new, more streamlined process could take effect in January, but some reforms required changes to the law.

The legal changes could be finished as early as the second half of next year, following a comment and revision process, the official China Securities Journal reported on Tuesday.

Regulators have implemented a series of administrative rules for futures trading, but the lack of a legal foundation has hindered the development of futures, the parliament said in its announcement.

(Reporting by Gabriel Wildau; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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