Mark Hynes - thoughts on corporate disclosure

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

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

And now UK regulators consider short selling disclosures

More welcome news for iR professionals who have long complained about the imbalance between disclosures of corporate information useful to investors, and those disclosures required of investors themselves. The FSA appears ready to require disclosure of short positions.

In recent weeks we have seen a steady series of announcements about disclosures in the investment tools used especially by alternative investors.

The SEC is beefing up Regulation SHO on naked short selling. The Australian Securities Exchange has consulted on the disclosures required on stock lending, as a proxy for short selling. The UK’s Financial Services Authority is pondering – post its consultation earlier this year - what to do about disclosures by holders of Contracts for Difference, as indeed are the Australians – following their PM’s visit to London.

And yesterday Mr. Hector Sants, head of the Financial Services Authority, was reported in the FT as saying that statutory disclosure of short positions was a "reasonable proposition", although the body had no plans to take action yet.

As we bask in today’s London early summer sunshine, it is tempting talk about the single swallow not making a summer, but in the matter of widening disclosure of holdings – and voting positions - it does look as if an entire flock of swallows has been seen.


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