Convoy Global Holdings, embroiled in one of Hong Kong’s biggest corporate scandals, may soon be getting a makeover after a major shareholder roped in former government stalwart Frederick Ma Si-hang to help turn its business around.
Kwok Hiu-kwan, who owns a 29.91 per cent stake in the financial services group, has requisitioned for a shareholders’ meeting to remove the entire 12 board members, according to a September 28 notice to the company seen by the Post.
The 29-year-old son of developer Kaisa Group’s founder Kwok Ying-shing has proposed six candidates as replacements, including lawmaker Abraham Shek, according to the notice. Ma was the city’s former secretary for financial services and treasury from July 2002 to June 2007.
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“Convoy is facing delisting from the Hong Kong stock exchange as it has not issued financial statements for several years,” Ma, 68, said in an interview with the Post. “If the shareholders vote for my appointment, I will like to spend my effort to help improve the transparency and governance of the company.”
Convoy has received the requisition notice and is studying the request, a company spokesman said when contacted by phone.
The latest move is Kwok’s second attempt at taking control of the board after a failure in 2017. Convoy shares were halted from trading at HK$0.17 in December 2017, after the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) launched an investigation into its financial affairs.
Adding a former government stalwart like Ma could help improve corporate governance of one of the largest independent financial advisers. During his term in office, Ma promoted governance and transparency among listed companies and introduced the Financial Reporting Council, an independent regulator for auditors.
Convoy scandal takes a new twist as ‘suffering minority group’ threatens legal action to recover losses
“It is important to safeguard the interests of the small shareholders, staff and customers of Convoy,” Ma added. “I want to help it to resume trading. This is important for the reputation of Hong Kong as an international financial centre.”
Convoy has over 1,000 staff and almost 100,000 customers. Former executive director Roy Cho Kwai-chee and two other executives are facing trial for conspiracy to defraud Convoy and investors in 2016 over an HK$89 million (US$11.3 million) investment connected to him. The judge will give the verdict at the end of November.
Kwok’s attempt follows little progress since a June attempt by a group of minority shareholders considered legal steps to recoup their losses before the company is struck off the stock exchange.
The minority group was seeking to garner support from other investors for a “collective action” including a liquidation process, while pursuing answers from directors and major owners for one of Hong Kong’s biggest corporate scandals in decades, according to notices posted in local media.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Convoy scandal takes a new twist as ‘suffering minority group’ threatens legal action to recover losses
- Convoy Global fails in bid to freeze former director’s assets as financial scandal lingers
- Convoy scandal continues as Hong Kong firm seeks damages from Ernst & Young for 2013 audit
- Convoy protagonists gather in Hong Kong High Court for day one of hotly anticipated financial battle royal
- Explainer: Who’s who in the tangled web of the Convoy enigma
This article Former government stalwart Frederick Ma may join Convoy as shareholder seeks board revamp to end scandal first appeared on South China Morning Post