View from City Road: A verdict not to be taken lightly

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The Independent Online
The stock market obviously thinks they're all at it in the Hong Kong market, and yawned off the severe punishment meted out yesterday to Standard Chartered for market rigging. Peregrine Securities was the first target of the authorities' clean-up of market practices, and few believe Standard Chartered will be the last. The shares fell only 1p to 247p.

Slipping on banana skins is something of a Standard Chartered speciality but measured against the cost to the bank of the Bombay securities scandal, where the initial provision was pounds 272m (now coming down as some of the money is retrieved), the latest appears small beer.

There is no fine or direct loss for the bank. Nonetheless, the verdict should not be taken lightly for it reveals damningly crooked practices in the market. Quite apart from the blow to reputation, the ban until next April will hurt commercially. Flotations are one of the biggest sources of income and profits for Standard Chartered in Hong Kong.

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