Monday, 26 September 2011

CD Guide, enforcement, journalists at AGM's, accounting

Why you should read Bursa’s CD Guide

(I wrongly linked before to the CG Guide (Corporate Governance Guide) instead of the Corporate Disclosure Guide, the number of pages is also only 78 instead of the reported 158)

"Investors should read the CD Guide too. In a way, it doubles up as a guide to evaluating a listed company's transparency and respect for the investors' right to know. When companies are stingy with material information, just throw the book at them."

The Guide can be found here:

They probably meant it good, the guide also looks decent. But I really want Bursa Malaysia to spend its time on their enforcing role, not on writing guides, for instance: 
  • Making sure that documentation to shareholders (circulars and especially independent advice) is of good quality and is unbiased.
  • Coming down hard on insider trading.
This part of the enforcement has been so disappointing.

Bounced from Betfair's annual meeting

"Has chairman Ed Wray become a tad over-sensitive when reminded of that feat? Very possibly. On Thursday, Wray banned the media from the company's inaugural annual meeting as a public company – a move almost unheard of in the 21st century."

It might be unheard of in the UK, I think it is quite normal in Malaysia. The Malaysian press is rather tame out of fear losing their printing license. But they can (and sometimes do) report what is being said in for instance court cases. If shareholders ask pertinent questions at Annual or Extraordinary General Meetings, journalists should be able to report on the issues raised. I would suggest the authorities to put serious pressure on listed companies to allow journalists at their meetings. If most companies comply, then the fact that certain companies won't allow journalists in would already be a clear red flag. Another way to solve this issue is that for instance MSWG facilitates the process in which journalists are able to attend as proxies for shareholders. David Webb organized a similar service in Hong Kong for important shareholder meetings.

More Trouble for Groupon IPO

It sounds like the internet bubble of 2000/2001 al over again. Companies want to list, but according to General Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) their revenues and profits (in most cases: losses) don't look well. Therefore, new definitions and metrics are invented.

I really hope Malaysia won't follow this path. The use of "deferred tax assets" (probably another US invention) is already much too aggressive for my liking, see:

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