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China’s Top Securities Regulator Replaced After Market Turmoil

The embattled head of China’s securities regulator is being replaced, state media said on Saturday, following months of turmoil on the country’s stock markets.

The move comes as Beijing seeks to restore confidence in its ability to manage the economy and after the China Securities Regulatory Commission received a large part of the blame for market volatility.

Xiao Gang, aged 57, was appointed to the position in March 2013. Wild swings on China’s bourses over the summer of 2015 saw stocks plunge by 40 percent.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index soared more than 150 percent in the previous 12 months to mid-June in a debt-fuelled rally encouraged by authorities.

Chinese markets have been a source of instability this year.Chinese markets have been a source of instability this year.  Photo: Bloomberg Finance

Mr Xiao is to be replaced by Liu Shiyu, the chairman of one of the country’s top four banks, the Agriculture Bank of China, Xinhua news agency said.

Intense speculation over the future of Mr Xiao had been mounting in recent weeks after his brainchild, a “circuit breaker” designed to cool sharp sell-offs in China’s stock markets, was suddenly withdrawn.

The mechanism was blamed for exacerbating a sharp sell-off in early January and was shut down after only three days.

Reuters news agency said Mr Xiao had offered to resign in the wake of that fiasco, a report which drew an angry response from the CSRC who demanded a correction.

Mr Xiao’s term was originally expected to formally expire at the end of 2018.

Mr Liu was trained in engineering at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University but has been involved in the state banking sector since the late 1980s, the Associated Press reported.

By NEIL CONNOR Feb. 20, 2016 on The Telegraph

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