Hong Kong regulator cracks down in wake of IPO fiascos

Milestone action, including fines totalling $100 million, against UBS, StanChart, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, come as city battles to maintain its cachet as a listing destination.

Beware the Ides of March, William Shakespeare once wrote. Beware its eve also, some investment banks in Hong Kong could be forgiven for thinking after the city's securities regulator slapped down no less than four international operators in one day.

In a landmark move on Thursday, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission SFC fined UBS and Standard Chartered a total of HK$435 million $55 million and banned the former from sponsoring initial public offerings IPOs for a year due to “extensive’’ due diligence failings.

It also came down hard on Morgan Stanley and Bank of America's Merrill Lynch Far East...

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