ECONOMY

SMEHA wants broader cleanup

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) Stockbrokerages Association (SMEHA) called for an expanded and speedy probe into the alleged stock market scandals during the bull market of the 1999-2000 period. «Penalties must be extended to those who reaped the gains of violating market rules, beyond the board members who are judicially charged with dereliction of duty,» said SMEHA President Panayiotis Voilis. He hinted that certain irregularities still take place today, particularly regarding small-capitalization stocks. Voilis said SMEHA is against the proposed extensive categorization of stocks according to volume and frequency of trading. «This is a worldwide novelty, whereas there could be a single high-risk category,» he said. Further, he indicated that the number of ASE-listed firms is too high in relation to similar European markets, and called for incentives to improve their quality and size through mergers. «Without large Greek enterprises, we run the risk of a flight of capital abroad.» Voilis said it was necessary to extend trading hours for blue chips, which are followed by foreign investors, who incidentally are still largely unaware of how the Greek market works, despite many ASE presentations abroad. Finally, he said the general picture of stockbrokerages has considerably improved in recent months and the viability of their overwhelming majority would be guaranteed with a total market daily turnover of 200-250 million euros.