Facing the Covid-19 pandemic, as the organizer, regulator and service provider of the financial market, Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) has taken strong and effective measures to support the market, improve services and facilitate business processes. Specific epidemic-control actions have been initiated to ensure the smooth operation of the market, as well as health and safety of market participants.
Guidelines for Market Businesses and Participants
During the Spring Festival holiday, the SZSE released the 'Notice on Supporting Listed Companies and Other Market Entities to Combat Novel Coronavirus-caused Pneumonia', detailing special arrangements for information disclosure, share issuance, underwriting and listing cultivation, fixed income business, membership service, fund management, derivatives business, negotiated transfer, assistance in law enforcement, hearing and review and investor service, in a bid to rationalize market expectation to support the fight against COVID-19. Taking information disclosure as an example, the SZSE has implemented six concrete measures:
- launching the dedicated service channel for information disclosure;
- supporting listed companies on periodic report disclosure;
- relaxing time limits on M&A and restructuring;
- helping listed companies hold online briefings;
- encouraging investors to attend online AGMs; and
- calling on listed companies to assume their social responsibilities.
Fast track for epidemic-alleviation fundraising
The SZSE has set up a fast track for fixed income business during the epidemic outbreak. Green light has been given to companies raising funds for epidemic prevention and control, and those in the hardest-hit regions. Time limit was relaxed for information disclosure of severely-impacted enterprises. Credit protection contracts, supply chain finance ABS and other fixed income products are used for the first time to facilitate the fundraising for epidemic control and work resumption and lower financing cost for enterprises. The first epidemic-alleviation corporate bond was issued right after the Spring Festival holiday. As of 18 March 2020, the SZSE has reviewed 19 epidemic-alleviation fixed income products with a total fundraising estimated to be RMB 41.3 billion (USD 5.9 billion), and issued 25 epidemic-alleviation fixed income products, raising RMB 30.6 billion (USD 4.4 billion).
Online services, trainings and roadshows
Tapping its technological advantages, the SZSE has strengthened its support for business and service, and launched a series of online services. The 'Shenzhen Securities Communication (SSCC) Cloud' has been utilised to support epidemic prevention and control, providing contingency VPN access and emergency e-disclosure services for industry institutions. Non-SSCC Cloud clients can also enjoy the benefit of contingency support. Mobile APPs are brought into play to promote efficient matching between epidemic-alleviation enterprises and the capital market. Online Listing Ceremonies were held for enterprises through live streaming, online video conferencing, and remote bell ringing.
The SZSE has upgraded its online training system soon after the Chinese New Year in response to market demand for training sessions during the epidemic outbreak. Since 7 February, with a special focus on the newly-amended Securities Law and the comprehensive deepening of the capital market reform, 26 courses which involve six topics were launched online, bringing benefit and convenience to over 100,000 online viewers. Professional online training service has been offered to market participants, among which enterprises in the hardest-hit areas are prioritised recipients.
The V-Next Platform, SZSE’s pitching platform among investors, intermediaries and start-ups, was mobilised to boost financing match-making for SMEs. Together with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the SZSE held a Covid-19 Prevention and Control Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Competition, in a bid to support R&D in epidemic-alleviation and accelerate the transformation of scientific and technological achievements.
Roadshows were also held online. Since March, the SZSE has held two online roadshows, attracting 87 representatives from overseas investment institutions to have in-depth online communication with SZSE-listed companies, covering such topics as the production and operation of enterprises during the epidemic, measures to prevent and control the epidemic and maintain stable economic and social operations.
Online investor education
Under the guidance of China Securities Regulatory Commission, the SZSE has launched a series of online investor education events, entitled 'Fight against Epidemic and Invest Rationally', to realise investor outreach and education during March to May 2020. Investors are enabled to understand the impact of the epidemic and current market situation in a more rational way, which is conducive to stable operation of the market.
Corporate social responsibility
On 31 January 2020, the SZSE donated RMB 30 million (USD 4.23 million) to Hubei Province, the worst-hit area, to support the fight against Covid-19. In mid-March, SZSE staff donated another RMB 683,000 (USD 96,216) to help the people there overcome difficulties during the hard time.
Epidemic prevention and control in the exchange
The SZSE attaches great importance to epidemic prevention and control in the exchange. It has drafted a rolling contingency plan based on the epidemic situation in different stages, including work resumption by classification and batch, strict control over unnecessary gatherings, restricted personnel access, strengthened safety protection for employees, enhanced disinfection, and better logistics services. These measures help to ensure the health and safety of its employees and smooth operations in the exchange.