Saturday, 6 August 2011

The "shorts" who popped a China bubble

"They are a rag-tag bunch, often working from home or tiny offices scattered round the world, from rural Texas to Beverly Hills and a suburb near Australia's Bondi Beach. Some have never even been to China; most don't speak or read Chinese. And yet in the past nine months, this small group of "short sellers" has published research exposing accounting fraud at a series of Chinese companies listed in the United States and Canada, and made as yet unproven allegations against a whole bunch more. As a result they have scuttled a once hot sub-sector of the American capital markets. In a number of cases they claim to have made a killing by shorting those stocks - placing a bet that the shares would fall in value - before publishing the research. They insist they operate independently but are clearly influenced by one another's ideas and tactics.
Altogether, they have been the catalyst that has wiped more than $21 billion off the market value of Chinese companies listed in North America. The sell-off has led to big losses for some very prominent investors, including hedge fund manager John Paulson and former AIG CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg.
In the aftermath, a series of companies have been delisted by U.S. exchanges, auditors have quit at a number of others, investors are filing class action lawsuits, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is pursuing investigations. To their supporters, the short sellers are doing the regulators' work for them by exposing fraud. They argue that many of these companies, which are often legally domiciled in offshore havens such as the Cayman Islands, should never have been allowed to list in America in the first place."

For more information:

On the Bursa Malaysia it is almost impossible to short shares (it is so difficult that as far as I know nobody actualy has done it) so who will do there the work for the regulators by exposing fraud off Chinese listed companies?

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