New ‘Watch List’ for errant firms

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) after renaming the default board as ’Watch List’ with effect from January 2018 in line with the new enforcement procedures to the CSE listing rules, will be scutinising firms on their behaviour.

“Now it’s easy and rules are streamlined for us to maintain tabs on these companies,” a CSE official told the Business Times.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently directed the CSE to give effect to the enforcement procedures to be implemented on listed companies from next January.

These procedures are pertaining to violation of Corporate Governance requirements, late submission or non-submission of interim financial statements, late submission or non-submission of annual reports, incidence of modified audit opinions in the audited financial statements, and incidence of an emphasis of matter on going concern in the audited financial statements. The CSE said it would take steps to incorporate the aforesaid enforcement procedures to the listing rules in due course. The SEC has indicated that once companies are on the ‘Watch List’, there will be market disclosures on what they intend doing about becoming compliant. Other actions contemplated by the SEC enforcement policy include the making of timely market disclosures on public holding positions of non-compliant companies and disclosures on remedial action proposed by such companies. Similar steps will be followed on firms which don’t comply with the regulator’s minimum public holding requirement.

“Companies found non-compliant with the minimum public holding requirement as of July 1, 2017 would be transferred to the Watch List on July 1, 2018 unless due compliance is achieved prior to that date, while others which become non-compliant following July 1, 2017 would be transferred to the Watch List within six months of such non-compliance or on July 1, 2018, whichever date is late,” the SEC in a June announcement said.

“Companies which become non-compliant on any date following July 1, 2018 would be transferred to the Watch List within six months from the date of non-compliance unless due compliance is achieved in the interim.” The SEC last year approved minimum public float rules that represent the portion of shares of a listed firm that are in the hands of public investors as opposed to shares owned by a company’s institutional shareholders.

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