Mon, Jan 07, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Make portfolios public: candidate

MORE TRANSPARENT Legislative candidate Pan Han-shen of the Green Party said the government has been using government-run funds to its political advantage

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government should make public the investment portfolios of four government-run funds (四大基金) on a timely basis to prevent stock manipulation, an independent legislative candidate said yesterday.

Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲), a Green Party Taiwan legislative candidate, said the government should disclose the individual shares that the four government-run funds buy and sell to avoid insider trading and ensure fairness in the stock market.

"The government should make the funds' cash flow transparent to avoid the kind of manipulation that gives certain people -- especially corporations -- access to insider information, which individual investors do not have," Pan said.

The four government-run funds, each worth more than NT$200 billion (US$6.16 billion) to NT$300 billion, are the Civil Servant Pension Fund (退撫基金), the Labor Pension Fund (勞退基金), the Labor Insurance Fund (勞保基金) and the NT$3 trillion Postal Savings Fund (郵政儲金), Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan (台灣促進和平基金會) executive director Chien Hsi-Chieh said.

Pan accused the government of using the funds for political ends.

"The four government-run funds and the National Stabilization Fund (國安基金) have been used to bribe individual investors by propping up the benchmark, which has always been used as a campaign strategy to benefit [the ruling party's] candidates," Pan said.

"Rather than merely disclosing shares by sector, which makes it hard for the public to supervise, the government should disclose individual company shares to clear doubts over the government's cronies whom it may have attempted to benefit," Chien said.

Chien said the government should make announcements at least on a monthly basis, which "will not affect the funds' operations."

But Steve Lin (林祖嘉), professor at National Chengchi University's economic department, disagreed.

"The disclosure of individual shares is unnecessary," Lin said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Chien urged the government to scrap its NT$500 billion Nation Stabilization Fund, which was set up to prop up the market in the event of investor panic.

"The budget for the stabilization fund was borrowed from other banks and did not come from government coffers. If the investment fails, it will be at the expense of taxpayers," Chien said.

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