Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is hiring more personnel to supervise the local virtual currency industry amid a flurry of regulatory activity.
A report by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) notes that the securities regulator added four new employees to its Intermediaries division. The SFC Chairman Tim Lui told attendees of the financial affairs meeting that the new recruitment exercise was designed to “better supervise” virtual asset service providers as it sets its sight on being a leader in the space.
“This is in response to an increasing number of operators who have expressed interest in carrying on VA activities such as trading platforms and the management of VA funds,” the SFC wrote.
Since the imposition of strict COVID-19 control measures, the SFC has struggled to attract and hold onto talent, but Lui expressed optimism over the agency’s future. He added that the SFC would be open to hiring individuals from both mainland China and foreigners should the need arise.
An estimated 18% of junior staff left their roles at the SFC in 2022, an improvement from the 25% reported in 2021, but the SFC faced a challenge in filling up the vacancies. The addition of four new hires brings SFC’s staff strength to 1,022.
“Recruiting is our focus, especially because much of our work going forward requires a lot of specific expertise,” Lui said.
The SFC’s latest hiring spree comes at a time when Hong Kong is looking to revive its local virtual currency ecosystem after a series of abrupt exits, implosions, and stiff regulations. To salvage the situation, Hong Kong’s government announced a new licensing regime that would allow retail traders to participate in digital assets trading, but the commission maintains that investors’ protection remains paramount.
The wave of securities regulators increasing staff strength
Securities regulators have been increasing the number of their staff to closely monitor the burgeoning virtual assets industry. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was the first to announce that it was doubling the size of its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit by filling 20 positions to fight against bad actors in the space.
“By nearly doubling the size of this key unit, the SEC will be better equipped to police wrongdoing in the crypto markets while continuing to identify disclosure and control issues with respect to cybersecurity,” the SEC said.
Early in the week, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced an increase in the number of employees as it looks to heighten its monitoring of the virtual currency space.
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