19 May 2019
Hong Kong's securities watchdog has adopted a new logo as it prepares for its 30th anniversary next year. Photo: SFC
Hong Kong's securities watchdog has adopted a new logo as it prepares for its 30th anniversary next year. Photo: SFC

Why SFC’s new logo evokes mixed reactions

Hongkongers generally have good feelings about the Securities & Futures Commission (SFC) and take pride in the work of the financial watchdog, but I am not sure if they are going bonkers over the entity’s new logo.

As it prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, the SFC on Tuesday unveiled a new corporate identity for itself, with a blue-green flying hawk replacing the agency’s old Tetris-like logo.

Introducing the new look, CEO Ashley Alder explained the thinking in opting for the hovering bird design, saying that markets are now much larger, more complex and more connected than ever and “times like these call for unceasing vigilance, rapid intervention and resolute enforcement.”

“The new design – which is inspired by the kites familiar in Hong Kong skies – reflects our determination to identify threats, punish wrongdoers and ensure our markets are fair and clean,” he said.

Alder may not have mentioned it, but there is little doubt that the market regulator’s new logo has been inspired by the imagery of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which uses an eagle in its logo.

The SFC’s new logo is eye-catching but unfortunately it falls short when seen through the prism of local culture and beliefs.

There is a saying in this part of the world that the hawk will only catch chicken, but not the crocodile, which is the big trouble-maker.

Given this, the SFC could have come up with something better, many people feel.

Even Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, the lawmaker who represents the financial services functional constituency in the Legco, could not help but remark that the “hawk… only catches chicken”.

Two local companies have famously used flying birds in their logos. One was Peregrine Investments, which was bankrupted 20 years ago because of the Asian financial crisis. The other entity was Shui On Group, whose flagships include Shui On Construction and Shui On Land.

Incidentally, both the Shui on flagships are heavily discounted on the market to their net asset values.

Returning to SFC, we can only wish it good luck with the new logo, and hope that the agency will continue to pursue its stated regulatory goals vigorously, without fear or favor.

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EJ Insight writer

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