Info exchange rife in Asia’s financial hubs

Author: Brian Yap | Published: 29 Mar 2016

The exchange of information through various channels has always been common in Hong Kong and Singapore, and is regarded as both casual and innocuous in all industries.

With these financial hubs having small and few players, information tends to be circulated – either directly or through a third party such as a customer – quickly and easily.

But panelists at this year’s IFLR Asia M&A Forum, which took place earlier this month, pointed out that due to these unique market conditions, many traders are ill-informed of the legal liability attaching to such exchanges.

"In Asia, with competition regulators being still relatively new, information exchange is not typically pursued as a standalone infringement. But rather, as part of a wider, usually hardcore offence such as price fixing or market allocation," said Clara Ingen-Housz, a partner at Linklaters in Hong Kong. "They are called abnormal competition conditions."

In Hong Kong, where...