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Xinhua Finance Revises Governance

Xinhua Finance Ltd., a Beijing financial news and media company, said Tuesday it is revising its governance policies in the wake of problems related to its former chief financial officer.

Earlier this month the company's CFO, Shelly Singhal, resigned from the company after Barron's reported the company failed to disclose in its IPO prospectus that he ran a brokerage firm that has been under a cease-and-desist order from the National Association of Securities Dealers since 2006.

However, NASD spokeswoman Nancy Condon said that a cease-and-desist order was not issued against the brokerage firm, Bedrock Securities.

According to a spokeswoman for Singhal, the NASD told Bedrock it may have been in violation of rules and should suspend its securities business until it was in compliance. Bedrock ceased its securities business and brought itself into compliance with those rules, said the spokeswoman. She said that on Dec, 14, 2006, the NASD informed Bedrock that it was in compliance and could resume its securities business.

"Bedrock currently is engaged in limited activity with regard to a minimum number of customer accounts for friends and family," said the spokeswoman in a statement. She added that Singhal owns but does not operate Bedrock.

Xinhua Finance said it plans to have a majority of independent directors on its board and the board of Xinhua Finance Media. It said it plans to establish lead independent director positions on both boards and to hire executive search firm Spencer Stuart to help recruit independent director candidates for both boards.

"As our businesses have become more global, we have evolved our governance practices to meet the standards of the new markets we have entered. (We) are currently fully compliant with all applicable regulations in the jurisdictions where we operate, but we recognize that there are ways in which we can further improve our corporate governance," said Fredy Bush, chief executive.

Associated Press 05.30.07, 6:19 PM ET
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