Mark Hynes - thoughts on corporate disclosure

Opinions on changing rules, changing best practices, and their effect on investor relations officers.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

As TOD approaches, are all regulators ready?

Well no surprise, but no.

The UK and Germany stand out as 2 regulators that HAVE completed the preparations for companies to follow the EU Transparency Obligations Directive, but many other countries are not as ready. Given that the required implementation date is January 20th , (yes 2007) this is perhaps surprising.

Documents seen by Transparency Matters based on an update from Competent Authorities at end of November, suggest that all but 8 EU countries have yet to introduce the basic levels of regulation on the Transparency Directive, and only 2 have completed the more detailed obligations.

Mind you, the European Commission itself has yet to finalise the details of the obligations on Competent Authorities, so it is hard to criticise.

As we remember, the basic concept of the Transparency Directive was to ensure equal transparency of companies’ news among the 27 member states of the EU. However, many of the obligations are still very different between countries. For example, the application of accounting standards for annual and half yearly accounts, is patchy. In less than half is IFRS mandatory, with most of the others mandating national standards (and a couple allowing issuers to choose).

The major shareholding reporting is also a patchwork quilt of differences, with thresholds ranging between 3% in the UK and Germany, to up to 90% in several countries.

And finally the dissemination model – the rules on how information must reach investors – are still far from resolved in every country. The obligations from TOD are for “fast, simultaneous distribution to all investors within the European Union” and for competition among providers. However some countries are still relying on mandatory, monopoly systems, while others leave the choice of media to the issuers, or allow issuers to post their news to their own – and the regulators’ - websites.

So with less than 10 days to go (as I write) there are many steps for regulators across Europe to take before the vision of true transparency by all issuers in the EU can be achieved.

1 Comments:

  • At 1:23 pm, Anonymous KP Frahm said…

    Hi Mark, great post, I linked it in my blog (http://www.mediacoffee.de/klauspeterfrahm/item/205), with a nice picture of yours :)

     

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