Emily Vogl, Frank Vogl
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Emerging market sovereign bond issuers strengthen investor relations & release more key data, but numerous countries still fall short of market needs
IIF publishes comprehensive report on 30 leading sovereign issuers
Washington, D.C., December 8, 2005 — The Institute of International Finance (IIF), the global association of financial institutions, today released a detailed report on the investor relations (IR) and data release practices of 30 leading emerging market borrowers. The IIF report found that a number of countries are now following best practice in data transparency and IR amid a generally improving overall trend. However, the report noted that gaps remain between the information and IR activities that investors are seeking and that many debtors are pursuing.
Dr. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the IIF's Board of Directors and Chairman of the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank AG, said, "A growing number of sovereign emerging market issuers are recognizing the need to develop systematic communication channels with the global financial marketplace. The new report provides a valuable guide to sovereign issuers and investors alike. The report highlights best practices, which in emerging market investor relations and data transparency are important pillars for helping to avoid crises. They are also crucial building blocks for more effective approaches to managing crises."
Mr. William R. Rhodes, First Vice Chairman of the IIF, Senior Vice Chairman, Citigroup Inc., and Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Citibank, NA, stressed that, "Although many countries are demonstrating an increased commitment to transparency with investors, many have work to do to support international investor confidence. In the wake of record net private capital flows to emerging markets, some have postponed needed progress in the development of their investor relations programs, which will become even more critical in uncertain times."
The assessments published by the IIF suggested that Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Korea, Philippines, and Turkey in particular are now implementing investor relations and data transparency programs that largely reflect best practices. The report highlights a number of other countries, such as, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, China and Morocco where important improvements in approaches are necessary.
Mr. Jacques de LarosiÃ¨re, Advisor to the Chairman of BNP Paribas Group, drew attention to the broader context within which the new report should be viewed in noting that, "Just over one year ago the Group of Twenty endorsed the "Principles for Stable Capital Flows and Fair Debt Restructuring in Emerging Markets" that had been agreed between sovereign issuers and investors and which created a vital framework for strengthening emerging markets finance. A key component of this new framework is improved investor relations and data release by sovereign issuers. I believe it is very significant that, as the new report shows, progress is being seen clearly in this area. There is a great deal of work that must be done by many sovereign issuers, but the overall trend that is emerging is a positive one."
The IIF is the global association of financial institutions comprising more than 340 member institutions headquartered in over 60 countries operating across the world. Today's 300-page report on IR and transparency approaches covers 30 emerging market issuers from Africa/Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, with a detailed analysis of current practices and areas for improvement for each of these countries. The report is based on the results of an IIF questionnaire supplemented by IIF staff evaluations and market feedback.
The IIF's work in the area of emerging markets IR and transparency has been guided by the IIF Committee on Crisis Prevention in Emerging Markets that is co-chaired by Mr. Rhodes and M. de LarosiÃ¨re. The development of the new report was overseen by the IIF Working Group on Crisis Prevention, chaired by Mr. Robert B. Gray, Chairman, Debt Financing and Advisory at HSBC Bank, plc.
Mr. Gray, who is Vice Chairman of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA), said, "This is a time when the financial markets face a range of uncertainties. It is crucial that investors make assessments based on the fundamentals of individual emerging markets economies. In this regard, the detailed evaluations of IR and data dissemination practices in this report are a valuable tool. In general, investor relations' efforts by emerging markets have improved over the past five years. However, as the report shows that there is still a wide gap between the top performers and the majority of the countries in the survey. I believe that sovereign issuers need to move rapidly to establish formal investor relations programs that conform with market best practices."
IIF Managing Director Charles Dallara noted that, "The report aims to help authorities to identify those aspects of the IR activities that could benefit most from strengthening. It could also pave the way for market-based improvements in data provision and innovation in information delivery."
The IIF report stated that for many countries there is room for improvement in systematically soliciting market input on economic development and policy directions, including through web-based communications, active use of investor contact lists, and investor conference calls. Such interaction can also strengthen authorities' abilities to secure effective knowledge of the marketplace. The report also noted that most countries focus on the release of macroeconomic data and historical policy information; however, only a third provide forward-looking policy information, which helps investors, better forecast economic performance.
Mr. Dallara pointed out that, "We have developed a detailed model for evaluating data transparency by sovereign issuers, which is reflected in individual country tables in the new report. The data shows an improving trend relative to a few years ago. We found that nine countries are now highly transparent with regard to the dissemination of central government operations, central government debt, and external debt statistics - Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Croatia, South Africa, and Turkey. We also found that more than two-thirds of the number of countries we surveyed are now providing data on a timely basis."
Improving trends are evident in a number of areas of data release. The IIF found that 26 out of the 30 countries publish central government debt data within the quarter following the end of a reference period and that 17 countries provide amortization schedules for central government debt, of which 14 update these schedules at least every three months. There is, however, still significant room for improvement. For example, even though 28 countries release external debt data with quarter lag, only 12 make amortization schedules available. More importantly, of those 12 countries, only 8 present a separation of private and public sector-a desirable breakdown to assess emerging markets vulnerabilities.
Emily Vogl, Frank Vogl