South African Regulator Drafts Guide on Investor Disclosure

The Financial Services Board has published for public comment guidelines on the distribution of investor names and addresses, said Norman Muller, the South African regulator’s head of capital markets.

Following the introduction of the Financial Markets Act on June 3, Strate, South Africa’s central securities depositary, stopped publishing share ownership information that may have been personal in order to avoid possible fines.

“Strate had always taken public information from company’s registrars and disclosed that, but with the introduction of the Financial Markets Act there were concerns that publishing this would expose it to penalties,” Muller said by phone from Pretoria. “We saw that most of the information that they had is public information, and so we have drafted guidelines that are published on our website for public comment.”

The draft guidelines say that most share ownership information can be disclosed by Strate to third parties such as data vendors. Personal e-mail addresses and mobile phone numbers may be two exceptions.

“Vendors can still get the public information, it just meant that instead of going to a single source they would need to go individually to all the different companies to get it,” Muller said.

He does not expect public opposition to the guidelines and sees Strate’s directive being amended within two weeks.