Babcock & Brown, Macquarie Group, Allco Finance – they’ve all suffered at the hands of short-sellers. But now a Federal parliamentary committee is calling for a massive overhaul of the disclosure rules for short-selling.
This potential shake-up is long overdue and could in theory provide banks (and banking jobs) with more protection from these pests. But does it go far enough? Will the Government have the guts to get tough? And should we now actually be looking at banning short-selling?
The committee’s report recommended sweeping changes to annual reporting requirements, proxy voting, access to share registers and the expansion of tracing provisions to include derivative instruments (The Australian).
Babcock & Brown could have done with some of this before it was targeted by those horrible hedge funds earlier this month.
Foreign finance firms – like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and MBIA – have also been victims of hotheaded short-sellers. And the UK’s Financial Services Authority has initiated its own crackdown.
But perhaps Australia should take a lead from Malaysia where the finance ministry reportedly proposed caning as a punishment for abusive shorting (The Economist).
Is that tough enough for you? Or are short-sellers innocent scapegoats, blamed for everything when share prices plummet? Write your own short story below.