Ask Colin

Under continuous disclosure should a company be allowed to give private briefings to analysts without informing the market?

The issue is often a matter of opinion as to whether the information obtained is really price sensitive. Companies are pretty careful about this after a few high-profile actions by ASIC - one was against AMP that I recall, but there were others.

It could be that the company told them nothing new, in which case the company did not have to make disclosure. Sometimes it is just a matter of taking the analysts through the published figures so that they have a "better understanding" of them. This is a very fine line, I agree.

Some companies follow the excellent approach of publishing any briefing to analysts to the market and even mailing it to shareholders. You did not mention the company, so I could not check. However, all you have to do to find all announcements is to go to www.asx.com.au.

Finally, it is possible that the analyst concerned learned nothing new at all, but is trying to give an impression that he or she knows something to get you to act. That may not be illegal, but it could be given a name.

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