BSE gets tough
THE BARBADOS STOCK EXCHANGE (BSE)?will soon be clamping down on listed companies, cutting the period they have to file their audited financial statements with the regulatory body, and increasing fines for noncompliance.
The measures form part of a slew of new and updated rules governing securities and the operation of public companies in Barbados that are now under consideration by the Barbados Stock Exchange and the supra-regulatory body – the Financial Services Commission.
Public companies will soon have just 90 days from the close of their financial year to file audited financial statements with the BSE, 30 days fewer than the current 120.
Under the new rules, a fine not exceeding $5 000 has been added to the list of possible penalties for any person under the jurisdiction of the BSE who contravenes or is not in compliance with any of the requirements.
BSE general manager Marlon Yarde told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY the moves were in keeping with the Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago stock exchanges which required companies to file interim statements in 45 days, audited annual statements in 90 days, and annual reports in 120 days.
The BSE is allowing companies 60 days to file quarterly statements.
However, during a recent public discussion on the draft rules, accountant and financial analyst Brent Shuffler suggested these time periods be reduced even further.
“I would say if we look at the capabilities of firms and the kind of software that we have, really it should be heading more towards 30 to 45 [days] and for the interim, 15.
“The reality is that many companies generally only have to press a few buttons and they can have statements within seconds, so the extra week or two weeks is really just a matter of giving time for review and approval,” he said.
Yarde noted that some people may find the proposed 60-day period for quarterly reports to be too generous but “when it comes to year-end financial statements, the factor that the companies might not have control over is when the auditors can come in and actually get the work done”.
In response, Shuffler maintained that companies did not have to wait until year-end to start an audit.
Meanwhile, Fortress Fund’s managing director Roger Cave said the BSE should try to “harmonize” its operations with what was happening on some of the other regional exchanges.
He reasoned that 90 days was “reasonable” for end-of-year reporting in light of what auditors were capable of managing. (NB)