Wall Avenue corporations drop sanctioned Chinese language firms as U.S. enforces ban

© Reuters. A floor trader walks during afternoon trading at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong

By Alun John

HONG KONG (Reuters) – U.S. banks Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) JPMorgan (NYSE:) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) will delist 500 Hong Kong-listed structured products, following a U.S. ban on investments in companies Washington deems linked to China’s military.

The products are linked to telecom companies China Mobile (NYSE:), China Telecom (NYSE:) and China Unicom (NYSE:) and local indexes including the benchmark , the three investment banks said in filings to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong on Sunday evening.

The delistings follow statements last week by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) clarifying a November order from President Donald Trump that banned Americans from investing in Chinese companies that the U.S. considers to have links with China’s military, the filings said.

OFAC guidance cited in some of the filings said the three telecom companies were specifically included in the initial executive order.

Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HK:) said in a statement it was “working closely with the relevant issuers to ensure orderly delisting, and facilitate buyback arrangements being arranged by the issuers.”

There are over 12,000 structured products listed in Hong Kong issued by 15 companies.

Hong Kong’s markets watchdog, the Securities and Futures Commission, said it had stressed to the investment banks that “any action taken by them should be necessary, fair, and having regard to the best interest of investors and integrity of the market, and that investors should also be properly informed as appropriate.”

Index providers MSCI Inc, Russell and S&P Dow Jones Indices said last week they would cut the three Chinese telecom companies from benchmarks wiping a combined $5.6 billion off the value of their Hong Kong-traded shares on Friday.

The New York Stock Exchange – after some flip-flopping – last week said it would delist the three firms’ U.S.-traded American Depositary Receipts on Monday.

China’s foreign ministry has previously said it firmly opposes what it called U.S. abuse of its power to oppress Chinese companies.

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