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Hong Kong regulator lifts ban on UBS IPO sponsorship

Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission on Jan. 14 lifted its suspension of UBS Securities Hong Kong Ltd. to act as an IPO sponsor, two months earlier than the regulator had said.

The regulator in March 2019 barred UBS from sponsoring IPOs in the city for one year and fined the bank HK$375 million for failing to discharge its obligations as one of the joint sponsors of three IPOs in Hong Kong: China Forestry Holdings Co. Ltd. in 2009, Tianhe Chemicals Group Ltd. in 2014 and another unspecified listing application.

In lifting the ban, the SFC said a 10-month review concluded that UBS's governance and control processes, from the acceptance of a sponsorship mandate to the listing of a listing applicant, are "generally well-designed."

The review also looked into UBS's sponsor work in two IPOs completed in 2017 and 2018, and found the bank had "adequate and effective due diligence" in acting as a sponsor.