Swiss take key step to end insider dealing

New rules will govern share transactions from next July Keystone

Firms listed on the Swiss stock exchange will have to declare major transactions involving company shares held by management members from next year.

This content was published on October 6, 2004 - 14:45

The Swiss Federal Banking Commission says the new regulations will bring Switzerland into line with other European countries.

Under the new rules, listed companies will be obliged to disclose any major transactions involving their own shares on the part of management members.

The stock exchange (SWX) announced on Tuesday that the guidelines had been approved by the commission and would enter into force next July.

Banking commission spokeswoman Tanya Kocher told swissinfo: “The effect will be to make the market more transparent for other investors, because they will be able to see who is buying and selling what at a high level.

“It will also help to prevent insider trading, and brings Switzerland into line with both the United States, where similar regulations already exist, and the European Union, where they are also being introduced.”

Objections

Kocher played down media reports that the final guidelines had been “watered down” following strenuous objections by members of SWX’s admission board – who include senior Swiss managers.

But she confirmed that admission board draft proposals had been rejected by the commission as “out of proportion” and “counterproductive”.

Kocher told swissinfo that the new rules would require firms to report within two days any transactions by a single person totalling more than SFr100,000 ($79,000) in a given month.

Key players - including the Swiss Business Federation economiesuisse and the Swiss Bankers’ Association - had proposed raising the limit and extending the reporting deadline.

Reports

The reports to the SWX will include both the name and function of individuals involved, but only the latter will be published on the SWX website.

The SWX already has statutory reporting requirements to ensure that investors and the public have an overview of the flow of information about listed companies.

Reports are required both to maintain a listing on the SWX and in connection with disclosure of shareholdings and reporting requirements for securities dealers.

Under the existing 1998 Swiss stock exchange act, disclosure has effectively only been required until now if dealings affected voting rights thresholds.

swissinfo, Chris Lewis

swx

The stock exchange is largely self-regulating, but the banking commission must approve new regulatory proposals.
Such regulations are generally proposed by the admission board, which is the SWX’s securities listing body.
The admission board is made up of representatives of economiesuisse and SWX participants.

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In brief

The Federal Banking Commission has accepted new regulations to enforce disclosure of major “insider” share dealing.

Firms are required to report within two days any transactions by a single person totalling more than SFr100,000($79,000)in a month.

Draft proposals by the SWX admissions board would have been considerably less stringent.

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