Asia-Pacific securities regulators reinforce commitment to greater co-operation

Securities regulators from the Asia-Pacific region reiterated their resolve to enhance co-operation in enforcement action against illegal securities activities, at a meeting in Bali earlier this week.

The meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee (APRC) of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), was hosted by the Capital Market Supervisory Agency of Indonesia (BAPEPAM) on 4 February 2002.

The APRC Meeting focused upon the issues of international co-operation and enforcement, most notably the latest developments in fighting the proliferation of “cold-calling” scams in the region.

The Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC), in recognising the importance of such collaboration, took the opportunity to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka, bringing the total number of bilateral MOUs signed between the SC and its counterparts to 15.

“The region’s growth and attraction with regards to its capital market activities is very much dependent on the credibility of its regulators and our ability to work together towards common goals, objectives and regulatory standards,” said the APRC Chairman, Datuk Ali Abdul Kadir, who is also the Chairman of the SC.

The BAPEPAM Chairman Mr Herwidayatmo echoed the need for regional co-operation.

“Such arrangements (for cooperation) would allow us to maximise the positive aspect of globalisation and at the same time minimise its negative impact. This would in turn lead to the achievement of the three objectives of securities regulation, namely: protecting investors; ensuring fair, efficient, and transparent markets; and reducing systemic risk,” said the BAPEPAM Chairman.

Other highlights of the APRC meeting were:

  • The APRC discussed the viability of exploring further measures towards enhanced regulatory cooperation. The APRC had previously discussed a regional multilateral MOU amongst APRC members. However, since then, as a result of the events of September 11, IOSCO established a Special Project Team on cooperation which is developing an IOSCO-wide multilateral MOU. The APRC is contributing to the work of the IOSCO Special Project Team and will further consider its regional MOU initiative in light of developments of the IOSCO-wide MOU.

  • In terms of co-operation to counter cross-border cold calling and boiler room schemes operating in the region, the APRC is formulating a regional approach to deal with the problem. It was agreed that to the extent permissible under local laws, the names of unlicensed operators operating within APRC members’ jurisdictions would be published. This strategy has proven very useful in warning investors about known cold calling organisations.

  • Mutual assistance among APRC members have resulted in successful enforcement actions in several countries namely Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and Hong Kong. Some members such as New Zealand and Malaysia have issued investor alerts to prevent the investing public from falling prey to these scams.

  • APRC members agreed to share information on the regulation of remote access terminals in the region, and investor recourse and safeguards. (Remote access terminals are trading terminals, which are placed by exchange or markets outside their own countries to provide overseas investors with direct access to their systems.)

The APRC Enforcement Directors also met concurrently in Bali, chaired by BAPEPAM. At this meeting, where the increased significance of the role of securities regulators after the events of September 11 was acknowledged, heads of enforcement deliberated over the issue of money laundering within the securities regulatory framework and its relationship with the funding of terrorist activities. There was also consideration of the range of enforcement actions available, in addition to criminal prosecution, to ensure more effective and efficient enforcement of securities laws.

The APRC, one of the four regional committees of IOSCO, consists of 22 members from 19 jurisdictions namely Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyz Republic, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Datuk Ali has been Chairman of APRC since May 2000.

IOSCO is a world-wide forum for securities regulators that addresses issues and demands relating to the regulation of securities and futures markets. IOSCO has a membership of more than 170 securities regulators, associate members and affiliate members.

6 February 2002