Ex-BOC chairman appointed top securities regulator

The government has appointed a new top regulator for the nation's securities market in the middle of its campaign to improve companies' listing practices and the market's credibility.

Xiao Gang(肖钢), former chairman of the Bank of China, was appointed chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, government securities market information sources said on Sunday, almost immediately after the close of the National People's Congress, which approved the appointment of China's new cabinet.

The 54-year-old Xiao succeedes Guo Shuqing(郭树清), whose new portfolio is yet to be officially announced. Xiao reportedly pledged upon his appointment at a meeting in CSRC that he will seek the continuation of the main thrust of CSRC's present policies.

Guo Shuqing, left. Xiaogang, right. Photo: Baidu.com

Xiao was chairman of the country's fourth-largest bank in terms of assets since August 2004. For the last two and half years, he has also contributed a monthly opinion piece on economic and financial issues to China Daily. His last contribution was in February.

Before he joined the Bank of China, from 1998 to 2003, Xiao was deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank.

Xiao was one of the people who masterminded the complex restructuring of State-owned giant banks into financial businesses responsible for their market performances. Under his stewardship, Bank of China became a publicly listed company in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 2006.

The 56-year-old former CSRC head Guo has been busy revamping the regulation of China's securities market since his appointment in November 2011, although he has had the shortest tenure on the top position of the CSRC compared with the five former chairmen, including the current central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan.

So far, Guo has signed 68 sets of measures against financial fraud and toward the market's further opening-up. Financial market observers praised him for having made a change in the general environment of the Chinese securities market.

Professor Liu Jipeng, dean of the China University of Political Sciences and Law capital research center, said Guo was the first person in the CSRC who had the courage "to start a revolution from within".

Guo has paved the way for the healthy development of the securities market, Liu said.

Until March 14, there were 847 companies on the waiting list for CSRC approvals for initial public offerings of shares. There were also analysts who feared that the succession in CSRC would further delay the approval process. They predicted the process would take at least three years to complete if all the companies were to be listed in the A-share market.

"It is still uncertain" what Xiao will do to expand the reform initiative that Guo started, said Jiang Fei, a senior financial market reporter at China Business News,.

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