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06.06.2007 Business & Finance

Capital Markets Need Timely Information

Capital Markets Need Timely Information

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), regulators of the country's capital market, has urged listed companies to make corporate information available to the market on a timely basis.

Deputy Director-General of the SEC, Mr Ekow Acquaah-Arhin, speaking at a forum for listed companies, stated that information was the life blood of capital markets all over the world but that in Ghana the release of corporate information was often not timely or simultaneous.

The forum, which was jointly organised by the SEC and the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), was aimed at developing a common platform to enhance the operations and activities of the two institutions for the benefit of all listed and prospective companies on the exchange.

The deputy director-general wondered why information or new products, new markets and the adoption of new technologies was not always released to the market in a timely manner.

Mr Acquaah-Arhin said for the market to become responsive and sensitive, listed companies must release all relevant information, such as quarterly estimates of profit and loss accounts and difficulties in meeting them, to the market promptly.

“Our market is often described as being non-responsive to information,” he stated, and called on all operators of the market to lift themselves up from the bracket of late disclosure of information.

He said the commission, as well as the exchange, was keen to hear issues and views pertaining to the development of the market and, therefore, urged all listed companies to come up with issues on their chest to make the two institutions very functional and effective.

“I dare say that you, as chief executives, especially those of you who are founders, have a greater stake in our market than some of us at the commission and the exchange as regulators,” he declared.

On the Securities and Industry Laws, Mr Acquaah-Arhin stated that the laws should not be a fetter to the development of the markets and that plans were already under way to expunge or replace some provisions of the law with more progressive laws, rules and regulations.

He, therefore, called on members of the exchange not to shy away from making their inputs to improve on the scope of the law.

The deputy director-general challenged chief executives of the listed companies, as well as their boards of directors, to ensure that good corporate governance took a better part of their day-to-day operations.

The Managing Director of the stock exchange, Mr Kofi S. Yamoah, who spoke on the new rule book, with emphasis on listing requirements, the re-denomination of the cedi and the automation of trading,told members of the exchange that everything had been put in place to ensure smooth transition from the old pricing to the new pricing of the equities.

He said all share prices, closing year highs and lows, opening price change, bid and offers would be re-quoted in the new Ghana cedi up to four decimal places after June 30, 2007.

Mr Yamoah said that would equally be for the SCB medium-term notes, the Government of Ghana two, three and five-year bonds, while that of the HFC Bank corporate bonds would continue to be quoted in United States dollars (US$).

The managing director further stated that dividends of listed companies and interest to be paid in local currency to bond holders would be quoted in Ghana new cedis up to four decimal places.

On price movement, Mr Yamoah said for a security whose price was ¢1,000 (GH¢0.10) or more, the price change at a trading session would not exceed plus or minus 10 per cent of the previous day's closing price for the security unless the transaction involved a bloc trade of 100,000 shares or more or shares worth ¢100 million (GH¢10,000) or more.

Story by Maria Alberta Viala

Acquaah-Arhin, SEC Deputy Director-General