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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » CORPORATE CHRONICLE™ » Stock market dilemma: Information important but too much could lead to ‘insider’ trading

Stock market dilemma: Information important but too much could lead to ‘insider’ trading

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Vice President - Equity Analytics

While information is vitally important to invest in the stock market, there could also be problems in the sense that too much information could be considered ‘insider’ information – was the view of a top official of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE).

Vajira Kulatilaka, CSE Chairman, participating at the launch of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka Annual Report Awards 2014, held in Colombo on Wednesday, said “If there is information sharing in a right and timely manner there goes inside information (it could result in ‘inside information and insider trading)”.

He said that the world is changing today and that “the thing” is information – information imparted in a timely manner, time not in months or years, but in milliseconds and nanoseconds and that information should be there to trade and to make right investments.
Mr. Kulatilaka said that providing information has to be improved not only to produce accounts but it should be distributed as expeditiously as possible in a timely manner. Sometimes information is not coming out on a timely manner, he said.

While there is room to improve in this respect, he said that they have come a long way during the last six years as earlier accounts were not believed or trusted but now people are starting to believe and trust accounts.

That itself is an achievement, he pointed out. Early dissemination of information is important not only for accountants, but also to the capital market as he said that they are promoting capital market outside this country. “When we promote the capital market outside, one of the basic things they (foreigners) look at is as to how the information is given. They find that locals have more information than what they have.”
He said that they (foreigners) like to see that information is shared equally. Mr. Kulatilaka said that they have taken great efforts during the past one or two years to go out and position Sri Lanka in the minds of the investors outside the country to come and invest in this country and to do that information is extremely valuable.

This year’s Annual Report Awards of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (CA Sri Lanka) is on the theme “Annual Reports Awards reaches Gold”, as the institute is holding this for the last 50 years consecutively, in its history of 55 years. At this occasion CA Sri Lanka President Arjuna Herath spoke of the institute’s proud history where by now they are aligned with all the international accounting and auditing standards and are considered as a very progressive institute across the world and a role model in the accounting fraternity in the world.

He said that they today are using the latest technology available and their curriculum is world class. Mr. Herath said that approximately 25 per cent of their members are serving overseas. He elaborated that they are in the leadership of the entire accounting fraternity of the Asia Pacific region.

To support this internationally acclaimed accreditations, he said, they are also collaborating with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a decade now in creating best practice guidelines to corporate governance in this country.

In order to facilitate the effective implementation of corporate governance in the corporate environment in this country, he said that they have launched recently the Corporate Directors Programme to impart knowledge and skills in line with CSE and SEC rules and regulations, financial reporting requirements, risk management, independence etc.

He said that the Treasury Secretary has instructed all government agencies to follow the Sri Lanka Public Sector Accounting Standards. At the moment CA Sri Lanka is conducting training to ensure that public sector agencies would be equipped to implement these public sector standards.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/140810/business-times/stock-market-dilemma-information-important-but-too-much-could-lead-to-insider-trading-109922.html

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