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Fri, Dec 27, 2002 - Page 12 News List

Japan takes cue from US and makes analyst rules

BLOOMBERG , TOKYO

Japanese regulators are to tighten guidelines for stock analysts, taking their cue from the US, which is making securities firms pay US$1.4 billion to settle claims their research was tainted by investment-banking demands.

Five new rules have been proposed to bring Japanese standards closer to those in the US, said Taka Okada, a general manager at the Japan Securities Dealers Association. These include a ban on underwriters issuing stock recommendations on a company until 10 days after a public share sale.

"It's not a case of catching a cold any time the US sneezes," Okada said in an interview.

The US settlement followed a probe into whether analysts at Citigroup Inc and other firms misled investors during a 1995-1999 bull market that preceded three years of stock declines. Japan's Topix Index lost half its value since 1995, making such conflicts of interest less prevalent.

The revised rules would prohibit brokerages from paying analysts out of investment-banking revenues, similar to new regulations in the US Japan won't adopt a US rule that analysts and family members disclose their personal shareholdings when talking to the media, he said.

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