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Old November 4th, 2005, 07:24 PM   #1
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Hong Kong Warrants Market

Goldman wades into warrants war
Bank draws on experience abroad to launch slew of products

Fiona Lau
4 November 2005
South China Morning Post

Goldman Sachs, a newcomer to the highly competitive Hong Kong warrants market, is set to draw on its experience in Japan and Europe to open its account here with a bang - launching 50 to 80 warrants in the next six weeks.

Hong Kong's warrants market is a huge pie. Goldman Sachs research says turnover of Hong Kong warrants reached $614 billion in the first nine months of this year, exceeding the German market for the first time and powering Hong Kong to the world's top position.

Equities division managing director David Voon said Goldman Sachs already had huge exposures to the equity market and, as warrant trading now accounted for about 25 per cent of total market turnover, it was natural for the investment bank to join the herd.

Turnover in warrant trading has accounted for between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of daily activity on the local market in recent months.

Cheril Lee, head of securitised derivative products at Goldman's, said the company planned to launch 80 warrants if the market was sufficiently volatile and 50 would be the bottom line. "Goldman Sachs is very experienced in the Japanese and European warrant markets and our advanced trading system will differentiate us from other issuers," Ms Lee said.

The investment bank will launch the first batch of eight warrants on Monday. The underlying indices and stocks will include the Hang Seng Index, the H-Share Index, HSBC, China Life Insurance, China Mobile and Aluminum Corp.

In response to regulators' concerns about trading in warrants, Miss Lee said Goldman would also be the liquidity provider of its warrant products and would provide fair trading spreads to investors.

"However, we have no plans to set a limit on the reissuance of warrants as this will violate the norm of providing fair and stable pricing."

Criticism has focused on the practice of reissuing warrants which, the critics say, has often led to a sudden increase in warrant supply and, hence, a price slump.

Yesterday, KBC Financial Products launched 17 warrants without reissuance provisions in a move seen to stimulate investor interest.

Earlier, the Securities and Futures Commission launched an investigation into allegations of market rigging through warrant trade and evaluating the existing warrant commission rebate practice. The watchdog is expected to report its findings by the end of this month.
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 06:26 AM   #2
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HK regulator set to act on warrants 'abuses'
By FLORIAN GIMBEL
28 November 2005
Financial Times

The Hong Kong financial regulator is seeking to clamp down on irregularities in the territory's derivative warrants market by proposing a ban on several trading incentives and market practices.

The Securities and Futures Commission, which on Friday unveiled a report on the local warrants market, said it had found evidence of "abuses" of incentive schemes such as commission rebates, which have helped to create artificially high market turnover.

Hong Kong has the world's most active warrants market, with warrants trading accounting for about a fifth of daily stock market turnover. A sharp drop in the Hong Kong stock market on August 18 sparked concerns over possible irregularities in the warrants market, prompting the SFC to launch a review.

The regulator on Friday said warrants did not "currently have an untoward systemic impact on the overall market". While the warrants market has a relatively high turnover, it accounts for less than 1 per cent of total market capitalisation.

However, in an effort to stamp out "inappropriate market practices", the SFC said it was seeking to ban commission rebates, which some brokers and warrants issuers have used to attract investors. "We have seen day traders trading against each other with the apparent aim of generating commission rebates," said Martin Wheatley, the SFC's chairman. "This can confuse or mislead the market by giving a wrong impression of turnover."

The SFC also said it was seeking to prevent warrants issuers from outsourcing their market maker, or liquidity function, to third-party providers such as brokers, who might have lower trading standards.

"There have been complaints by investors that some liquidity providers push derivative warrant prices up or down to benefit themselves at the expense of investors," the report said. In an effort to encourage competition, Mr Wheatley said listing rules should be changed to make it easier for issuers to create additional units in popular warrants, while other providers should be allowed to issue "identical" warrants.

"We believe some of the price distortions in the market are caused by limited supply," he added.

The SFC report comes after recent comments by Paul Chow, chief executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, who attacked the regulatory environment in the territory as weak and lenient, criticising investment banks and brokers for resisting stricter controls.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 02:33 AM   #3
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Shake-out looms for warrant market
Weak players to be ousted as competition and costs escalate
12 January 2006
South China Morning Post

The warrant market will consolidate this year with weaker players being ousted, according to KBC Financial Products director Venus Wong.

"One to two issuers are still considering joining the warrant market," Ms Wong told reporters yesterday. "But as competition is keen, I expect three to four issuers will slow down their development."

Last year, the number of issuers increased to 18 from 13.

Ms Wong suggested the narrowing of the implied volatility of warrants and short-term listed options and keen competition would push up costs for issuers, while the growth of warrant turnover might rise only in line with the broad market turnover.

The market had another record year last year with the average daily turnover of the warrant market jumping 66 per cent to $3.46 billion.

Warrants contributed about 19.2 per cent of the overall stock market turnover, up from 13.4 per cent in the previous year, with the highest single-day turnover reaching 31 per cent.

Ms Wong projected the number of new issues would grow to about 2,000 if more quality stocks qualified for warrant issuance. H-share warrants would become a focus as new listings drive the growth.

"New listings such as China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications and China Shenhua Energy generated additional growth momentum for H-share warrants," she said.

"Besides, there will be several large state enterprises seeking to list their shares in Hong Kong and some of them are expected to have the necessary qualifications for issuing warrants."

Last year, the growth in turnover of blue-chip warrants exceeded that of H-share warrants.

Ms Wong believed that if the turnover of the warrant market followed the pattern of the spot market, in which the turnover of H shares soared 33 per cent, the turnover of H-share warrants would see stronger growth this year.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 03:26 AM   #4
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Volatile Link Reit restrains warrant issuers
Only eight derivative products launched as against CCB's 24
17 January 2006
South China Morning Post

The unusually high volatility of the Link Reit has forced warrant issuers to alter plans to issue related derivative warrants, holding it back from breaking the record set by China Construction Bank Corp.

Eight issuers launched just eight call warrants yesterday on the Link, which will list and debut on January 23, against the 24 warrants issued on China Construction Bank on its first day of warrant trading in November last year - a record for a single company.

KBC Financial Products, a normally active issuer, did not launch any Link warrants yesterday.

"To factor in the high volatility of the Link, issuers need to price the warrants at a high level. From this point of view, the Link may not be the most ideal underlying asset at this moment," director Venus Wong said.

"We will wait and see and if there is strong investor demand on [Link warrants], we will surely consider joining the herd."

The Link, regarded as a yield play, saw a drastic change in its fortunes after British hedge fund Children's Investment Fund Management snapped up an 18 per cent stake.

Then becoming a growth play, it surged 45.6 per cent to yesterday's close of $15 since listing on the back of strong buying momentum.

Recently, however, trading in the stock has slowed.

According to Henry Pang, BNP Paribas head of Asia institutional equity derivatives sales, annualised average volatility of the Link over the past 30 days was 48.9 per cent, coming down to 23.5 per cent in the past 10 days.

"It takes time to observe the Link's real behaviour as there is too much speculation," another issuer said.

"There is no reason to rush for a warrant issue."

Issuers expect modest demand for the Link, leading them to issue only a small number of warrants to test the waters.

Johnny Yu, a director of equity risk management at UBS Securities Asia, said his investment house issued only one Link call warrant, given that investor interest had shifted to blue-chip warrants such as HSBC Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa with the expectation of a sustainable bull run ahead.

ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Calyon, SG Securities, JP Morgan, UBS, Rabobank and Goldman Sachs all issued one call Link warrant each.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 05:02 PM   #5
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Punters pay price for taking warrants risks
Hong Kong Standard
Saturday, March 11, 2006



About 47 percent of Hong Kong retail investors who traded warrants last year suffered losses, while 31 percent pocketed gains, according to a Securities and Futures Commission survey.

Nevertheless, almost half of those with losses vowed to continue trading the high-risk derivatives.

Warrants come in two basic forms.

Call warrants give the holder the right to buy a specific stock at a set price at a later date. Put warrants confer the right to sell a stock, also at a set price and at a later date. The prices of warrants fluctuate unpredictably with the value of underlying stocks.

The regulator estimates that Hong Kong has about 270,000 retail warrant investors, representing about 12.9 percent of all retail investors and 4.7 percent of the adult population. Since 2004, Hong Kong has been the world's most active warrant-trading center.

The SFC surveyed 250 warrant investors in January and February. It found that 76 percent traded warrants in hopes of making fast gains, and 11 percent saw it as outright gambling. Less than 9 percent saw warrants as a risk-management tool.

The 47 percent who reported losses lost anywhere from HK$1,000 to HK$400,000; their median loss in the past 12 months was HK$20,000. The 31 percent who profited gained anything from HK$1,000 to HK$300,000.

Their median gain was also HK$20,000. The remaining 12 percent said they broke even.

Among the losers, 47.5 percent said they would continue to trade warrants. A tenth described themselves as addicted to warrant trading.

"While most warrant investors are aware of the high risks of derivative warrants and choose to take the risks, there is a need to enhance investor understanding of this product and the use of warrant analytics," said Martin Wheatley, chairman of the SFC.

He said some punters were probably risking too much on warrants - the survey indicated that they constituted more than half of the investment portfolios of about 17 percent of respondents.

However, Wheatley said the SFC could not prohibit people from investing in a legitimate investment product. At best it could educate investors.

Ricky Tam, the founder and chairman of Hong Kong Investor Institution, an investor rights groups, said the preponderance of losers in the SFC survey proved that warrants were not, as usually described, a high-risk, high- return investment tool "but a high-risk, low-return investment tool." Some brokers accuse warrant issuers of manipulating the market at the expense of retail investors. However, Johnny Yu, equity risk management division director at UBS, one of 18 local warrant issuers, said there was no market manipulation. Investors who lost money misunderstood the market or misread stocks, he said.

Last year, the average daily turnover in Hong Kong's warrant market was HK$3.5 billion, or 19.1 percent of total market turnover.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 05:57 PM   #6
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March 31, 2006
Government Press Release
Proposals on warrants market backed

The Securities & Futures Commission has decided to take forward the Six-Point Plan proposed in the November 2005 Report on the Derivative Warrants Market in Hong Kong with some modifications and refinements.

The specific proposals under the Six-Point Plan aim to strengthen and enhance Hong Kong's derivative warrants market.

Twenty-seven submissions from 29 respondents were received. Responses were generally supportive of the Six-Point Plan and of maintaining a derivative warrants market in Hong Kong.

The specific proposals were also generally well received, though some attracted opposing views.

SFC Chairman Martin Wheatley said a few proposals had triggered strong and varied views, and the commission had proposed modifications or refinements to address the concerns raised.

Many of the proposals would require changes to the Listing Rules and hence approval of the Listing Committee, he said, adding it would work with the Exchange to achieve this within the shortest possible timeframe.

"We believe that these changes will, over time, increase investors' awareness of the risks and features of derivative warrants, and contribute to the development of a healthy market where informed investors may participate with confidence," Mr Wheatley said.

Click here for details of the Six-Point Plan : http://www.sfc.hk/sfc/doc/EN/speeche..._dw_060331.pdf
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Old April 6th, 2006, 09:08 PM   #7
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Investors in regional rush for warrants
Hong Kong Standard Staff reporter
Friday, April 07, 2006

The warrant craze is not unique to Hong Kong, but has spread like wildfire throughout the region, according to a study by the Securities and Futures Commission.

Released on the heels of the six reforms proposed by the commission at the end of last month, the report serves as a clarion call to ensure the local market remains competitive and a recognition that Hong Kong is not singularly infused with risk takers.

In both Australia and Taiwan, average daily turnover for the first two months of this year was up 42 percent over the same period last year, and in newcomer South Korea, it was up a whopping 223 percent, making it the third most active warrant market in the region.

Hong Kong, the most active market in the world for the past two years, was up 76 percent for the period, though since overall stock trading also shot up, this remained at about 19 percent of total market activity.

Noting the surge in Hong Kong warrant trading is prodded by mainland listings, the report cites the example of the top three mainland stocks - China Mobile, China Construction Bank, and China Life Insurance - for which warrant trading jumped 90 percent during the first quarter of 2006 over that for the second half of last year.

This compares with the 50 percent boost for the warrant market as a whole during the period.

Underscoring the attraction of mainland based warrants is the rapid growth in China for the derivatives after trading in them resumed in August.

While only 12 are currently listed there, and all are issued by the companies themselves, the mainland for the month of December temporarily swiped the title from Hong Kong as home to the most active warrant market, with an average daily turnover of US$782 million (HK$6.01 billion), 38 percent of its total market turnover.

This slowed considerably by March due to regulatory changes - including allowing brokers to issue mirror warrants to fill supply shortages - but trading remained a robust US$152 million, or 7 percent of the total market turnover.

The report maintains that as the mainland market becomes more sophisticated, the warrant demand and supply "will continue to grow... to address different needs of deferent investors."

The report also undercut the call by some that in order for the HKEx to remain competitive, it should scrap the six-week ban before a new stock listing can be covered by warrants. The reason often cited by critics is that since Singapore allows coverage immediately after a share is traded, it soaks up much of the business.

But in largely dismissing this concern, the report noted that "such trading concentrated in Hong Kong after similar derivative warrants were listed on HKEx."

It cited the case of China Construction Bank, for which warrants were trading at an average clip of US$1 million a day in Singapore, but then dropped by 70 percent once similar derivatives were offered in the SAR. For Link REIT, the drop was 81 percent.

"This suggests that liquidity tends to move to the market where the underlying stocks are listed and traded."

According to a survey released by the SFC last month, only 31 percent of warrant investors said that they had made a net gain in the past 12 months, while 47 percent said they incurred a net loss.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 10:59 PM   #8
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Investors chase BOC warrants
Turnover reaches $645m, accounting for 9pc of the total, as the market remains bullish on China

11 July 2006
South China Morning Post

Bank of China's warrants were well received by the market on their trading debut yesterday, helped by investors' interest in the underlying shares and their need for derivatives to hedge risks.

Turnover of 33 derivative warrants on the country's second-largest lender amounted to $645.84 million, accounting for about 9.16 per cent of total derivative turnover of $7.05 billion yesterday.

They were the second most heavily traded derivative warrants on a single company by value yesterday after those on China Life Insurance which accounted for about 13 per cent of total warrant trading.

"Liquidity of warrants on Bank of China was largely driven by the strong market demand towards mainland-related stocks, while there has been a lack of catalyst for blue chips at present," said Edmond Lee, senior vice-president of the derivatives department at SG Securities, the second-biggest warrant issuer by turnover in Hong Kong.

Investors' interest in Bank of China has been growing since its H shares began trading in Hong Kong last month.

The stock climbed 0.7 per cent to close at $3.575 on turnover of $1.1 billion yesterday.

The lender has seen its stock jump 21.19 per cent since its trading debut on June 1, beating a 4.7 per cent rise in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Issuers generally said the debut performance of the first batch warrants on Bank of China was within expectations and expected more warrants on the stock to come in the near future.

"Investors' demand for large-cap mainland banking stocks such as Bank of China is undoubtedly on the rise," said Venus Wong, executive director of KBC Financial Products, the largest warrants issuer in Hong Kong.

"But market interest in derivative warrants on Bank of China depends largely on the volatility of the underlying stock in the near future."

KBC Financial Products and SG Securities each issued three Bank of China derivative warrants and KBC is set to launch another two warrants on the giant mainland lender tomorrow.

The debut of 33 derivative warrants on Bank of China yesterday was a new record, outnumbering the 24 warrants on China Construction Bank in November last year.

The Bank of China warrants were offered by 14 different issuers. Thirty one of them are call warrants and two are put warrants. Call warrants allow investors to bet on the share price going higher while put warrants take a bearish view of the stock.

Johnny Yu, director of equity risk management at UBS Securities Asia, said momentum on derivative warrants on Bank of China will continue to build as more warrants on the underlying stock become available on the market.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 09:58 PM   #9
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Exchange tipped to reduce warrant application time
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, September 07, 2006

The application time for warrants on IPO stocks listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong could be drastically shortened, according to Sing Tao Daily, sister publication of The Standard.

The exchange's listing committee will discuss today shortening the application time to just seven trading days from the current 20 days, according to a source familiar with the proposal.

The move is aimed at countering intense competition from the rival Singapore Stock Exchange.

If the resolution is passed, China Merchants Bank - set for a September 22 listing - will be the first IPO stock eligible for fast-tracked warrants.

In a surprise move last year, the Singapore Stock Exchange changed its listing rules to allow warrant issuers to list their derivatives simultaneously with IPO shares covered on the same trading debut.

Last November, eight Link Real Estate Investment Trust warrants were launched in Singapore on the same day The Link (0823) listed in Hong Kong.

Five Bank of China (3988) warrants were also listed on the Singapore and Hong Kong exchanges simultaneously.

"The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong views itself as the region's leading derivatives market. It felt it was a slap in the face when [the Singapore bourse] offered a faster arrangement on warrant listings," one market observer said.

Since then, requests have mounted for a relaxation of the 20-day listing rule here. But although the source predicts approval of the proposal today, he said Hong Kong would still lag behind Singapore's one-day rule.

Meanwhile, the China Merchants Bank IPO international tranche has been oversubscribed about 19 times, sources close to the issuer said. "Interest in the shares is tremendous, and orders have been capped to a maximum of US$100 million (HK$780 million) per order," a source said.

That meant a price near the high end of the indicative price range at HK$8.55 per share.

"China Merchants Bank's A shares were trading at 8.8 yuan [HK$8.61] per share Wednesday, which is already above the high end of the range," a source said.

"As long as the gap between the H-share IPO price and the A-share price does not exceed 10 percent, it would not be against the regulator's policy of narrowing the gap between the two kinds of shares."
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Old October 6th, 2006, 11:46 PM   #10
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HK, Singapore warrants fired up by mega China IPOs
By Koh Gui Qing and Ian Chua

HONG KONG/SINGAPORE, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Mega Chinese share sales and bullish stock markets have boosted warrant trading in Hong Kong and Singapore, and as more Chinese firms list the two markets may grow by up to 20 percent next year.

Hong Kong is already the world's second-largest warrant market by value traded after Germany, thanks to a flood of listings of mainland Chinese enterprises in recent years and growing investor appetite for the more risky securities that provide exposure to stock price gains.

Hong Kong's turnover for warrants in the year to August hit US$132.1 billion, surpassing all of 2005 by 20 percent, while Singapore reached US$5.2 billion, near last year's total of US$6.5 billion, World Federation of Exchanges data showed.

The two Asian warrant markets are likely to keep the growth momentum as more Chinese companies are gearing up for stock listings. The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China [ICBC.UL], the country's biggest lender, is looking to raise up to US$21 billion in what is expected to be the world's largest IPO.

"With the IPO pipeline and gestures from Chinese officials that they would continue to see Hong Kong grow as a financial centre ... next year 10 to 15 percent growth in the warrant market turnover is possible," said Matthew Wong, ABN AMRO head of Private Investor Products, Asia, and Head of Global Markets Hong Kong.

Sentiment has been further lifted by strong stock market gains. Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index <.HSI> is at a six-year high after rallying 20 percent so far this year, while Singapore's Straits Times <.STI> has risen more than 12 percent this year after having reached a record high in May.

WARRANT EXPOSURE

A warrant, usually traded on an exchange, gives the holder the right but not the obligation to buy or sell an underlying asset -- a stock, equity index, currency, commodity -- at a set price, on or before an expiry date.

Usually priced at a fraction of the underlying asset's price, the affordable and volatile derivative is popular among investors because its wild price moves offer many punting opportunities. As such, sharp stock price movements are a big draw for warrant investors.

China Merchants Banks , for example, has rallied more than 35 percent since its Hong Kong debut two weeks ago following a $2.4 billion stock sale -- whipping up feverish demand for exposure through warrants to such stocks.

The China Merchants warrant issued by Deutsche Bank has surged more than 80 percent from a low of HK$0.67 on Sept 29.

The warrant, which gives investors the option to buy China Merchants shares at HK$11.48 apiece from the issuer when it matures on April 16, 2007, was up 11 percent to HK$1.21 by 0355 GMT on Friday. China Merchants is trading at HK$11.90 per share.

"Everyone is talking about getting exposure and not to miss the boat, and therefore, a lot of investors would take a view on the extent of the rally by investing in the warrant product," said Henry Pang, head of equities & derivatives, Asia, at BNP Paribas .

There are 11 warrant issuers in Singapore compared with nearly 20 in Hong Kong, although market players say 6 issuers including KBC, Societe Generale , ABN AMRO, Deutsche Bank , Macquarie and BNP Paribas account for more than 70 percent of the Hong Kong market.

Many warrant issuers in Singapore are also issuers in Hong Kong, who list their successful Hong Kong-underlyings in the city-state.

Singapore's warrant market may grow 20 percent in the next six to nine months, said Wong Kok Fai, the vice president of equity structured solutions for Asia Pacific at Merrill Lynch.

"Investors should be looking at China names," he said.

GROWING APPETITE

Macquarie says it plans to launch warrants for ICBC on Oct. 27 in Singapore when the stock debuts in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The growth in warrant trading -- which now accounts for nearly 30 percent of Hong Kong stock exchange's total turnover compared with just 7-9 percent a few years ago, has prompted banks such as SG, BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Macquarie to expand their regional warrant teams.

SG has doubled the size of its team in the last two years, BNP Paribas has seven staff, up from five last year, while Citigroup moved its head of structured products from the mature Australia and New Zealand markets to Hong Kong to kick-start its Asia Pacific warrant business.

"Prior to this, we didn't have dedicated Asia-Pacific warrant teams," said Michael Walker, head of warrants in Asia-Pacific at Citigroup. He moved to Hong Kong from Sydney in May.

"The trend we are seeing is an appetite for leverage resulting in an increased acceptance of warrants," said Walker, adding that Citigroup would further expand its regional warrants team next year.
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 05:41 PM   #11
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Merrill Lynch warrants bid
Hong Kong Standard
Monday, October 23, 2006

Merrill Lynch is planning to reenter the Hong Kong warrants market, after an absence of six years, Sing Tao Daily, the sister publication of The Standard, has reported.

The US-based investment bank, declined to comment.

In 2000, Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific and Merrill Lynch Far East were reprimanded publicly by the Securities and Futures Commission for its failure to adequately supervise the trading of some derivative warrants. It then voluntarily suspended new warrants issuance for 16 months. An SFC investigation found two former staff members of Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific carried out unauthorized and improper trading activities in a scheme that "involved the selling and repurchase of ML warrants to and from nominee accounts and wash sales through Hong Kong brokers, and resulted in there being few trades in these warrants other than those generated by the two staff members of ML Asia Pacific."

Sources said it may not come as a surprise if Merrill Lynch were to reenter the warrants market considering the tremendous growth this year. Also, Merrill Lynch is issuing warrants in Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

The Hong Kong warrants market has attracted major players such as HSBC and Goldman Sachs, which reentered the market in 2005.

Some issuers have been expanding their teams to grow in line with market demand. The team responsible for warrants business at Societe Generale Securities has doubled the number of personnel over the past two years, while Citigroup relocated its head of derivatives products to Hong Kong to further expand its warrants business in Asia Pacific.

There are about 20 warrant-issuers in Hong Kong. Six of them - KBC Financial Products, Societe Generale Securities, ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank, Macquarie and BNP Paribas - account for more than 70 percent of market share.

In the first nine months of this year, turnover in the warrants market amounted to HK$1.19 trillion, 40 percent more than last year's total turnover of HK$856.5 billion, mainly due to the listings of more large mainland companies.

Warrants trading in the past three quarters accounted for 25.9 percent of total market turnover, up from the first-half average of 19.2 percent.

Edmond Lee, Societe Generale's senior vice president for equity derivatives, said he expects Hong Kong's warrants market to double in size this year as it experienced a rapid growth in the first three quarters.

Trading volume in the first nine months already surpassed the whole of last year, while third-quarter turnover grew at a double-digit rate compared with the second quarter.
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Old October 26th, 2006, 08:34 PM   #12
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Banks decide against launching warrants
26 October 2006
South China Morning Post

A clutch of banks have pulled plans to sell warrants linked to the shares of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China tomorrow on concerns that an influx of warrants may increase the stock's volatility.

"ICBC has said it doesn't want an adverse or unnatural impact on trading," said a person familiar with the situation.

DBS, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Macquarie, BNP Paribas and HSBC were among the banks forming the group of IPO syndicate banks caught out by the move which was decided on Monday.

Other banks such as Citigroup and Societe Generale could conceivably sell warrants, market sources said. But Macquarie and BNP plan to still go head to issue the ICBC warrants as planned, they said. Macquarie declined to comment. BNP could not be reached.

ICBC's listing will be the first time the Hong Kong stock exchange has allowed warrants to be launched on the same day as a stock's trading debut after criticism that Singapore Exchange, which allows the practice, is poaching business from the city.

"Most people would say warrants are positive because you have to buy the stock to hedge your exposure but ICBC and its legal counsel are afraid of the volatility," a banker said.

Another source said that some syndicated banks are pulling warrants only because they were concerned of breach of contract and the exchange is neutral on this issue and has not applied any pressure on issuers.

"This is clearly initiated by the warrant issuers," said Henry Law, a spokesperson at the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Warrants grant the right to buy shares at an agreed price at a future date but do not provide dividends or voting rights.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 05:18 AM   #13
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Volume of warrants traded stays low
Jeffrey Tam
Hong Kong Standard
Saturday, October 28, 2006

Trading turnover of warrants on Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (1398) was relatively low, amounting to HK$1.184 billion.

Derivative products on ICBC shares, allowed to be traded on the same day as its trading debut, following a special waiver granted to the bank by the stock exchange, included 20 call warrants and only one put warrant.

Before ICBC began trading in Hong Kong Friday, there were concerns the launch of a clutch of warrants may increase the H share's volatility. Analysts said that although warrant turnover was relatively low, some investors will turn to warrants on ICBC stock next week. Those likely to turn to the warrant market are investors who could not get their hands on ICBC H shares, analysts suggest.

It has been estimated that 970,000 investors in Hong Kong subscribed to the ICBC initial public offering, but 30 percent of them were not allocated any shares.

Compared with share trading, warrants are largely meant for sophisticated investors. "Warrant investors bet on the volatility of the stock with a much lower cost, although the risk borne by these buyers is much higher," a market observer said.

Warrants on ICBC posed another challenge for brokerages and investment banks because there was no record of the range of volatility of the stock.

Such volatility is also sometimes known as historic volatility - looking back at a particular period in the past. And implied volatility is usually drawn from a warrant's pricing model.

"The price of available warrants is not particularly appealing to investors, and the implied volatility in the warrants is not high enough," said Agnes Wu, director of Hong Kong Investment Consultants. "Price-setters for warrants of China Merchants Bank had the same problem on the first day of warrant issuance for the lender, and the implied volatility dropped to 30 percent from 55 percent."

As had been expected, there was no turnover on the only put warrant issued by Citigroup on ICBC stock, as investors did not want to speculate on the downside of ICBC in the short run.

Although warrants on ICBC provided investors another channel to bet on the stock, the lead sponsor of ICBC's float advised issuers against offering too many warrants at once so as to avoid volatility in the shares.

One day before the ICBC listing, some banks did retreat from warrant issuance. This reduced the number of warrants on ICBC stock to 21 from the 29 scheduled by issuers.

Investment banks that withdrew warrants Thursday included JPMorgan and DBS, which canceled five warrants.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 10:46 AM   #14
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H shares outpace blue chips in warrant trade
3 January 2007
South China Morning Post

H-share warrants replaced blue-chip warrants, such as those of HSBC Holdings, as the most actively traded stock warrants last year, a trend that will continue this year, according to SG Securities, a leading warrant issuer in Hong Kong.

Of the top 10 stock warrants by turnover value, six were H shares and only three were blue chips. In 2005, five were blue chips and three H shares, SG said.

Trading in China Life Insurance warrants accounted for 11.41 per cent of warrant turnover, up from 5.13 per cent in 2005, replacing HSBC as the heaviest traded stock warrant.

HSBC warrants made up 5.41 per cent of turnover, compared with 11.27 per cent in the previous year.

China Construction Bank Corp warrants ranked third following the lender's H-share listing in October 2005.

China Life shares gained 276 per cent last year, making holders of related call warrants the biggest winners, said Edmond Lee, a senior vice-president at SG.

Warrant trading amounted to HK$1.79 trillion last year, up from HK$856 billion in 2005.

The derivative product accounted for 21.5 per cent of total stock market turnover, compared with 19.1 per cent previously.

H-share warrants accounted for 31.25 per cent of overall market turnover in the fourth quarter of last year, up from 28.89 per cent in the first quarter, as investors were drawn to the warrants of the mainland's three largest commercial banks.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China, the two largest lenders, listed in Hong Kong last year and followed up with the issuance of warrants.

The growing popularity of H-share warrants was due mainly to the mainland's booming economy, the yuan's appreciation, the strong A-share market performance and the opening up of the country's financial market to foreign firms, Mr Lee said.

He expected these financial stock themes to keep fuelling H-share rallies and boost warrant turnover by 25 per cent for the rest of this year.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 03:31 AM   #15
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Mainland dislodges Hong Kong as world's top warrants market
Turnover climbs to US$243.9b as investors put their money in the derivative product

4 January 2007
South China Morning Post

The mainland's nascent warrants market overtook that of Hong Kong to become the world's most active last year as investor demand for derivative products outstripped supply, according to Goldman Sachs (Asia).

Turnover in China's warrants market hit US$243.9 billion, exceeding Hong Kong's US$230.4 billion. The mainland market's turnover last year was almost eight times the combined sales in the last five months of 2005, and compared with 109 per cent year-on-year growth in Hong Kong's turnover.

China introduced warrants in August 2005 as part of the share reform under which non-tradable state-owned shares were converted into common shares.

Majority shareholders of state-owned firms sometimes offered warrants as compensation to minority shareholders to win their approval for the reform.

"There is simply a lack of other listed options and futures products in China, so investors have no other choice but to [put their money in the crowded] warrants market," said Cheril Lee, Goldman's executive director and head of securitised derivative products.

"Mainland investors see warrants as another type of stock that is traded at a much cheaper price than the underlying stock."

However, Ms Lee said that the mainland's warrants market was not healthy, as reflected by the fact that trading volume accounted for 80 per cent of the total stock market turnover in one particular day last year.

Hong Kong's warrants turnover on average accounted for 21.5 per cent of the total stock market turnover last year which Ms Lee said was a healthy level.

Ms Lee expects turnover in the mainland's warrants market to exceed that of Hong Kong this year as well because more local qualified brokerages would issue the product to meet demand.

Hong Kong had been the most active warrants market in the world for several years, followed by Germany and Italy.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 11:04 AM   #16
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China’s love affair with warrants
By Tom Mitchell in Hong Kong
FT
Published: January 4 2007 18:29 | Last updated: January 4 2007 18:29

Less than 18 months after the first warrant was issued on China’s stock exchanges, the country now boasts the world’s biggest market for the financial instrument.

Chinese investors’ love affair with warrants was an accidental outcome arising from a set of last-gasp stock market reforms and has been stoked up by a speculative fever that may not last.

Like options, warrants allow investors to buy a security at a future date for a fixed price. Warrants can also be bought and sold in their own right, making them potential objects of speculation as well.

According to data compiled by Goldman Sachs, warrant turnover on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges reached $221.2bn over the first 11 months of 2006, against $207.8bn in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s full-year turnover came in at $230bn, with incomplete statistics for China suggesting its final figure would exceed $244bn.

This is in spite of only 27 warrants being traded in China compared with more than 2,000 in Hong Kong.

Zhu Huacheng, derivative products analyst with Xiangcai Securities, said China warrants could change hands up to 150 times before exercise, compared with just 10 times in more mature markets. Warrants were embraced in China to help listed state-owned enterprises out of an awkward bind. Listed state companies had two classes of shares, one that could be traded on stock exchanges and the other that could not.

To realise the value of their non-tradeable “state shares”, state-owned enterprises needed to render them tradeable. This required approval from minority shareholders, who feared dilution from the release of a large overhang of state shares.

To win their minorities over, state companies gifted investors free bonus shares and, in some cases, free warrants as well. In Hong Kong and other markets, investors buy warrants issued by independent third parties, such as investment banks.

Cheril Lee, executive director and head of Goldman’s securitised derivative products in Hong Kong, said the market’s momentum would depend on further initiatives from China’s regulator, which has not yet given blanket approval for third-party issues but approves them on a one-off basis.

“It seems like they are quite supportive of warrants,” Ms Lee said. “If the regulator allows third party warrants the market can stay [at current levels].”

Mr Zhu added that regulator approval of derivative warrants would also give the market a boost this year. “The issue of derivative warrants has been in preparation for a long time and might be launched in 2007,” he said. “With more warrants in the market and a high turnover rate, the market will be even larger this year.”
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Old April 28th, 2007, 05:13 AM   #17
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Record warrants for debut of Citic Bank
25 April 2007
South China Morning Post

China Citic Bank Corp will have a record number of 32 derivative warrants listed on Friday when its shares debut in Hong Kong, reflecting investors' keen interest in the mainland lender.

Citic Bank's warrants are offered by 10 issuers and have implied volatilities, a simulated forward price movement of an underlying stock, ranging from 32 per cent to 98 per cent.

They have strike prices, the fixed prices at which holders can convert the warrants into shares in a specified period, of between HK$6 and HK$9, according to the stock exchange website. Citic Bank's offered price is HK$5.86.

"The wide divergence of implied volatilities set by each warrant issuer shows that they can only guess the future price movement of Citic Bank as they don't have a trading history for reference," said Johnny Yu, a director at UBS. "ICBC also had the same problem last year.

The first company to list derivative warrants concurrent with its shares was Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on its debut in October last year, which required special stock exchange approval.

Citic Bank is the second company to receive such approval. It is also the second company to have a simultaneous stock listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong after ICBC.

The Hong Kong stock exchange usually does not allow listing of derivative warrants on the first day of a share's trade due to lack of a trading record.

Under the listing rules, companies are required to have a trading record of 60 days to be eligible as underlying stocks for listed warrants. However, the number of trading days is narrowed to five for those with a public market capitalisation of more than HK$10 billion.

Mr Yu said investors should stay away from Citic Bank's derivative warrants on the first day of trade because the implied volatilities would narrow to between 24 per cent and 39 per cent, making it difficult to reap a profit.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 05:13 AM   #18
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Disruption hits HK$1b in warrants trade
27 April 2007
South China Morning Post

Reuters, an international real-time financial data provider, suffered a service disruption yesterday that affected an estimated HK$1 billion worth of Hong Kong trading in warrants issued by firms that failed to access other providers.

"Reuters real-time services that were disrupted in Macau, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, Greater China and the Philippines [had fully resumed] at 13.30 Hong Kong time," a Reuters spokesman said. "Any customers who were sourcing data through Reuters from the Hong Kong data centre had earlier been advised to switch to alternative Reuters sources."

The issuers serve as market makers for warrants they supplied, offering trades based on price swings in the underlying shares. But in the morning, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Citigroup and JP Morgan halted offering liquidity, failing to switch to other data vendors to price the underlying shares.

The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said it had received reports of problems from Reuters yesterday morning and it was notified by warrant issuers that their liquidity provision services might have been affected.

Turnover yesterday was just HK$7.37 billion, against more than HK$8 billion recently, and the proportion of warrants trading to the total market turnover was 14.2 per cent, down from this year's average of 20.3 per cent, said Johnny Yu, who oversees warrants issuing at UBS. The bank was not affected.

"We are very concerned about the issue," said HKEx chairman Paul Chow Man-yiu. "Our information system worked normally."

Reuters said it was investigating the cause of the disruption.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 10:17 AM   #19
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HKEx News Release
Updated: 29 June 2007
Market Records in 2007 (up to 29 June)

Securities Market

- The Hang Seng Index closed at a record high of 21999.91 on 22 June.
- The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (H-shares Index) closed at a record high of 12239.71 on 22 June.
- The securities market turnover value was $122,262 million on 20 June, the largest single-day turnover ever. The securities market turnover for June reached a single-month record high of $1,558,960 million while average daily turnover of $77,948 million was also the highest in history.
- The average daily turnover for the first half of the year was $59,249 million, the largest ever.
- The largest single-day derivative warrants turnover was $22,836 million on 22 June. The largest single-month derivative warrants turnover was $312,098 million in June.
- A total of 798,209 trades were concluded on 18 June, the largest number ever.
- The market capitalisation set a new closing high of $16,004,480 million on 22 June, exceeding $16 trillion for the first time.

Derivatives Market

- The turnover of all futures and options was 6,997,218 contracts in June, the largest single-month ever.
- The largest single-day turnover of all futures and options was 703,302 contracts on 27 June.
- The largest open interest of all futures and options was 5,771,075 contracts on 27 June.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 06:57 PM   #20
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China Railway busy as 46 warrants trade
Hong Kong Standard
Saturday, December 15, 2007

With its record 46 warrants at the start of trading, China Railway Group (0390) outshone other blue-chips yesterday to become the most active stock on a day of losses.

Total warrant turnover reached HK$38.29 billion, representing 34.26 percent of Friday's total trading compared to 25.63 percent on Thursday.

Turnover in China Railway warrants came to HK$15.04 billion, 39.28 percent of Friday's warrant turnover. This outstripped the company's stock which had a turnover of HK$4.5 billion with 539.91 million shares changing hands.

China Railway closed at HK$8.29, down 39 cents or 4.49 percent.

Prudential Brokerage associate director Kingston Lin King-ham said the share price rose earlier in the week as investors believed the price would surge with the warrant issue.

But the bearish market also acted to drive down the share price.

Macquarie Equities (Asia) equity markets group head of warrant sales Keith Chan Kee-chee said: "Out-of- money options such as those exercise prices above HK$8 are more popular. Investors hope the share price will surge further and make a bigger gain from a higher gearing."

Chan added the company currently has five call options and will issue another two next week.

Meanwhile, rising uncertainty about the world economy brought by the US subprime mortgage market crisis and global credit crunch combined to drive the market down.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index plunged by as much as 499.25 points before bouncing back to close the day at 27,563.64, down 180.91 points or 0.65 percent.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of H shares slumped 519.28 points at one point, before recovering to close at 15,957.46, down 2.29 percent or 374.62 points.

Turnover reached HK$111.77 billion, down from HK$127.09 billion on Thursday.
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