Credit Suisse Halts Japan Earnings Previews Following Probe

  • Firm won't let analysts interview companies before results
  • Swiss bank faces FSA penalty after analyst leaked information

Credit Suisse Group AG will stop publishing research that previews companies’ financial results in Japan after the securities watchdog found that its local securities unit leaked information about a company’s earnings.

The Swiss firm won’t allow its analysts to visit companies to gather information before they report earnings, Tokyo-based spokeswoman Haruko Fukushima said by phone on Monday, without giving a reason. It’s also not planning to hold a conference for investors this month, an event that usually takes place twice a year in April and October before the results season, Fukushima said.

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission on Friday recommended that the Financial Services Agency penalize Credit Suisse’s Japanese brokerage unit after finding that one of its analysts leaked non-public information on a company’s earnings forecast. The analyst gave the information last year to a colleague in the sales division, plus at least one customer, the SESC said. The sales employee then solicited at least 33 customers to buy shares in the unidentified company.

Japan’s financial regulator is grappling with how to treat corporate information before it’s published to ensure that all investors have fair access to it. An FSA advisory panel is studying a proposal to introduce a rule for fair disclosure of non-public company information. Last December, the agency ordered Deutsche Bank AG’s local brokerage to improve compliance after it leaked a company’s earnings information.

Investor Conferences

Credit Suisse holds conferences twice a year, most recently last October, to discuss their analysis ahead of results announcements in 12 industries such as finance, pharmaceuticals and automobiles, Fukushima said.

The SESC began investigating Credit Suisse’s local securities unit in October to determine whether it has proper systems for handling information on publicly traded companies, people with knowledge of the matter said last week. The Swiss firm said on Friday that it takes the SESC’s recommendation seriously and will strengthen its internal controls.

Other firms have also begun paring equity research before earnings seasons, according to spokesmen for the companies.

Nomura Holdings Inc. in December decided to stop interviewing companies for the purpose of publishing research about their business performance before financial results are announced. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. this year stopped releasing results previews that are based on such interviews. Mizuho Financial Group Inc.’s securities unit no longer issues earnings curtain-raisers.

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