China's securities watchdog solicits proposals to revive market © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Chinese flag flutters outside the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) building on the Financial Street in Beijing, China February 8, 2024. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) -China’s securities watchdog said it held a series of seminars on Sunday and Monday with market participants who proposed tighter scrutiny of company listings and trading behaviour as part of efforts to revive market confidence.

The meetings were led by the watchdog’s newly-installed chairman Wu Qing and held immediately after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, reflecting the urgency to stabilize a market that dropped to five-year lows early this month.

Participants, including small investors, listed companies, money managers and accounting firms, said regulators should tighten screws on initial public offerings and weed out listed companies that do not qualify.

They also proposed a fairer trading mechanism and harsher punishment for law breakers, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a statement.

The watchdog said it would treat all proposals seriously and implement feasible ones immediately, reiterating its intention to “resolutely maintain market stability and control market risks.”

“Confidence is more precious than gold,” the official China Securities Journal said in an editorial on Tuesday.

Improved communication with the market can help rebuild confidence, and “we believe that careful listening is a good start.”

Wu, nicknamed the “broker butcher” after an earlier regulatory stint, was appointed CSRC chairman on February 7. He replaced Yi Huiman, who had failed to arrest share price slides despite a slew of measures designed to stabilise the market.

Just two days after Wu’s appointment, the watchdog punished employees at China Merchant Securities for illegal stock trading and fined Shanghai-based semiconductor company S2C Ltd for fraud in its listing application.

The CSRC plans to strengthen cooperation with law enforcement agencies to crack down on securities cheating and financial manipulation, the China Securities Journal said.

The regulator will also speed up registration of equity funds, and guide more long-term capital into the stock market, the newspaper said.


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