ECONOMY

Regaining investors’ trust

The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) needs both foreign and Greek institutionals, but mainly the private investors who have lost their faith in the stock market after the 1999 bubble, the ASE president and Hellenic Exchanges CEO, Spyros Kapralos, told Kathimerini. After a successful career at the Athens Olympic Games Organizing Committee Kapralos has taken the challenge of making the ASE operate according to stock market rules, of ensuring corporate management regulations are fully applied by everyone and that complete, timely and accurate information is offered to investors. What are your main priorities for the stock market’s operation? Our basic objective is for the Greek investor to return to the ASE, absent since 1999. All competent bodies – the Economy and the Development ministries, the Capital Market Commission, the stock market, the stockbrokerage firms, the analysts, the media and the listed companies themselves – must move in this direction. We want to have accurate and timely information and therefore transparency, so we have proceeded to the immediate publication of annual financial reports and of the additional information with chartered accountants’ notes as stock market regulations dictate. We operate correctly and make decisions according to the rules without pressures. What is the plan for the reform of existing markets based on the new draft law? Markets operate and form by themselves. Everyone examines company data such as profits, future growth prospects, corporate management control, relations with investors, the possibility of timely and accurate information and share liquidity, to make investment choices. The international trend today, boosted by recent EU regulations, is the strengthening of the Capital Market Commission’s supervising and auditing role, and the liberalization of the markets. Stock markets are turning into enterprises managing organized markets, trading securities in general. The bill will only include the minimum terms for securities to enter the ASE, according to community law. It will abolish clauses of other laws imposing special regulations for each market so the ASE can impose specific additional conditions for its markets, if approved by the Capital Market Commission. What are the trips abroad for? For the promotion of the stock of Hellenic Exchanges SA, the development of the group with various cooperations and the growth of the domestic market. Our group is oriented toward coalition cooperation with EU stock markets to increase the market’s momentum and give it more liquidity. The framework of cooperation with the Cyprus Stock Exchange is complete. Possible cooperations with other stock markets could have various forms, from simple cooperation on a technological level to a common platform. We also intend to make the ASE the center of SE Europe. Aside from any cooperation to come, this year can be a rebound year for Hellenic Exchanges. The company can contribute in promoting the Greek system, attracting domestic financial resources as well as international resources. What are your plans for the introduction of shipping products, such as listing maritime shipping and shipping derivatives? About shipping derivatives, this market is mainly extra-stock and is represented by Freight Forward Agreements. The Greek stock market has prepared the operational framework of that market in trading and liquidation level, but a common decision is needed in cooperation with its major members to support these products. We want to have the serious and great of maritime shipping in our market and will request, if the sector is listed, that once a year their shareholders meet in Greece and that investors are fully aware of the sector’s prospects.