Friday, May 15, 2009

Bruce Sheppard: Please Explain

I am a big fan of Bruce Sheppard and agree with his usual well considered and fully explained point of view most of the time. He is more often than not right, expert at financial matters and blunt to the point appearing rude.

This blog yesterday received many hits with Bruce's name as a search and I didn't have the time to explore why.

The reason for the controversy is in Bruce's blog post published on May 8.

It is explained in this piece in Stuff.co.nz that basically he has put his line in the sand and alluded to various NZX listed companies having problems with debt levels:

According to Mr Sheppard, around half of 47 major listed companies he analysed during a three week investigation are at risk of defaulting on their bank terms. However, he said he will not reveal names until companies have had a chance to respond to letters he has written to them.

He selected companies based on published 2007/2008 debt levels and applied assumed bank terms to their financial metrics. Mr Sheppard added that his research raises questions about exchange operator NZX continuous disclosure regime and its role as regulator.

What Bruce has failed to do, and this is unusual for him, is provide corroborating evidence that backs his May 8 accusations.

Frankly if he does have evidence, he needed to come out with it at the same time he made his claim, and not scare the horses so to speak.

It is highly unprofessional to do otherwise because it taints every NZX listed stock with the same debt brush.

He has received a "please explain" from the NZX and unusually again I agree with the NZX and that doesn't happen often:

14 May 2009 - Shareholders' Association chair Bruce Sheppard has contributed meaningfully to capital markets debate over the years. The broader interests of the market, and market confidence, would be best served at this time if he released his analysis at a very detailed level. Investors can then draw their own conclusions as to the health of the companies in which they are investing.

NZX shares Mr Sheppard's goal of healthy, open and transparent capital markets in which investors can have confidence. Providing detailed and transparent information to support his conclusions will further that goal.

Time to put up or shut up Bruce.

Read the answer to the NZX request

Related Reading

Stirring the Pot - Brucie's Blog

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Related Amazon Reading

What Is an Exchange?: The Automation, Management, and Regulation of Financial Markets
What Is an Exchange?: The Automation, Management, and Regulation of Financial Markets by Ruben Lee
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c Share Investor 2009