China to set up firewall between bankers, analysts in IPO deals -paper

By Thomson Reuters Aug 29, 2022 | 11:27 PM

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s securities association has drafted rules to set up a firewall between investment bankers and analysts in deals to ensure unbiased pricing of initial public offerings (IPOs), the official Shanghai Securities News reported on Tuesday.

Bankers in an IPO deal are barred from discussing profit forecasts and valuations with analysts, who should make conclusions independently, the newspaper said, citing rules drafted by the Securities Association of China.

Brokerages should also regularly check on their internal firewall systems, according to the rules, which were distributed to brokerages for their opinions, the newspaper said.

Such rules will prevent distortion of IPO pricing, protect investor interest in a market crucial to funding innovation and growth in the world’s second-biggest economy.

China has adopted a U.S.-style, registration-based IPO system in some parts of its stock market to make pricing of shares more market-oriented, with plans to soon expand the reform to the entire market.

A company’s valuation report is increasingly important under such an IPO system, but analysts have inadequate levels of independence in writing such reports, some of which are grossly inaccurate in their projections, the newspaper said, citing China’s securities association.

To avoid conflict of interest, investment bankers will be barred by the rules from discussing earnings estimates and valuations with analysts in an IPO deal, though they can communicate on the basics of the issuer in the presence of compliance officers, the paper said.

The rules also ban issuers, investment bankers and salespeople from exerting pressure on analysts to skew their research conclusions, the newspaper said.

(Reporting by Jason Xue and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)