Stocks

SEBI panel moots sharing details of firm’s exclusive analyst meet with all

Thomas Abraham/ KS Badri Narayanan Bengaluru/Chennai | Updated on November 20, 2020 Published on November 20, 2020

The Securities and Exchange Board of India on Friday released recommendations on providing a level-playing field to all shareholders – big and small – regarding information flow from listed companies. The market regulator said listed companies should make available audio and video recordings of post-earning conference calls on their websites and stock exchanges within 24 hours or before the next trading day.

A BusinessLine report in June had flagged this issue. SEBI’s latest recommendations, in the form of a report, pertain to analyst meets, investor meets and conference calls. The report was prepared by a sub-group headed by HDFC Vice Chairman and CEO Keki Mistry.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Anurag Shangari of Bullseye Investment Managers, said, “I welcome this development. In this time of the pandemic, when more people have entered the equity market, such equitable flow of information from official channels would be good for all. It will obviate any kind of confusion.”

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The recommendations said post-earning conference calls should be made available on the websites of both the listed companies and respective stock exchanges within five working days. Such audio/video recordings and written transcripts should be available on their web sites for at least eight years.

SEBI has said the recommendations will, for a year, be recommendatory in nature, and then made mandatory for all listed companies.

No level-playing field

Though some listed companies disclose institutional investor meets or conference call with analysts, they do not divulge the details of what transpired in such meetings, beating the principle of level-playing field for all categories of investors.

Minority shareholders, who do not get to attend these meetings, are not privy to the information shared with a select group of investors – typically, large and institutional investors – thereby creating information asymmetry among different classes of shareholders.

Listed companies can decide on whether conference calls should be made open to everyone or limit such calls to existing shareholders. However, as part of corporate governance practice, companies should provide to the stock exchanges every quarter, the number of one-to-one meetings with select investors.

It should be accompanied by an affirmation that no Unpublished Price Sensitive Information was shared by any official of the company in such meetings, the report said.

SEBI has sought public comments on the recommendations till December 21.

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Published on November 20, 2020
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