He’s right.

Even if you read nothing else this weekend, you must read John Hempton’s incendiary takedown of the SGX’s thwarted merger with the ASX.

All I’ll add is that he’s absolutely right. Those dodgy S-chip listings that sucked up so much of Singaporean investors’ money in the mid-to-late-2000s (they were handing out prospectuses in Raffles Place as late as early 2008) are now collapsing or being suspended at the rate of one or two a fortnight. (This week’s casualty: Jiutian Chemical “announced substantial differences between its audited and unaudited reports”, which, well, make of that what you will.)

This column by SPH’s rather good biz journo Goh Eng Yeow is very relevant, and would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad. This is from 2009:

INDEPENDENT directors at China Sun Bio-chem Technology have raised serious concerns over the management of the corn-starch producer.

They complained, in a nine-page announcement yesterday, of the obstacles faced by KPMG Advisory in getting to the bottom of accounting irregularities first highlighted by auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

[…The announcement] also gave accounts of the problems allegedly encountered by KPMG at China Sun’s Suzhou and Tongliao offices. It said KPMG could not access accounting records in the Suzhou office.┬áThe auditors were told by staff that the records had been moved to the company’s Shenyang office for auditing purposes.

There was also a mysterious power failure when the auditors tried to access four computers at the Suzhou finance office. Mr Sam Yeh, an assistant general manager of China Sun, attributed the electricity supply cut to ongoing refurbishment.

However, KPMG observed that one other computer in the room remained in working condition, and noted that this was ‘an unusual phenomenon’.

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