01-07 November 2000

Transparency, accountability and a level playing field
at the Exchange

By John Dalli

Finance Minister John Dalli recently addressed a Malta Stock Exchange - hosted seminar for the chairmen of listed companies. During his address, Mr Dalli called for transparency and accountability at the Exchange while insisting on maintaining a level playing field in all sectors of the economy and in the economy as a whole.

Attending this meeting and having the pleasure of the company of the Secretary General of the International Federation of Stock Exchanges and the Representative of the London Stock Exchange strengthens the strong belief that has always guided me in my political career, that is the belief in the willingness and potential of our people to meet new challenges with courage and determination.

I understand that this evening’s occasion is meant to mark the close of the first meeting held by the Malta Stock Exchange for the Chairmen of companies already listed as well as for prospective listed companies. This is a laudable initiative which, I am told, is meant to become an annual and important event on the calendar of the financial sector in Malta. The Stock Exchange, which opened its doors only eight years ago, has grown beyond expectations and over the past twenty four months has achieved greater success not only in the increasing number of investors and issuers participating in the market but also by obtaining wider international recognition.

As Minister of Finance I am very pleased to note the wider interest which our capital market is attracting. The increasing number of share owners and the wider participation in economic growth by the Maltese public fills me with confidence for the future. One of the main policy targets of my Government is not only to achieve growth but also that all sectors of the economy must have the chance to enjoy and share in the benefits of growth.

As you are no doubt aware, I am all for a level playing field in all sectors of the economy and in the economy as a whole. I do not believe that within each sector any player should have an advantage over other players. I also do not believe that any sector should have an advantage over any other sector. Each and everyone of us must shoulder his responsibilities towards all the components of the society of which we form part. If we had to promote individual interests over those of society as a whole than we are bound to fail. No one group can aspire to achieve success over the long-term unless the whole environment in which it operates is also successful. There were times when it was official policy to promote success by giving official sanctions and advantages that in the main were meant to benefit the individual as against the community. It is my policy to dismantle such privileges since, to my mind, they only serve to weaken the will and determination to succeed.

This leads me to another two very important areas of the workings of the financial markets in general and of the Exchange in particular. Transparency and accountability. I do appreciate that our Exchange is still young and enthusiastic but I must emphasise that all steps should be taken to ensure transparency in all transactions. I would not like to take this occasion to criticise but I can assure you that we follow the activities of the Exchange very, very closely and I want to be assured that any possible abuse is nipped in the bud before it has the chance to spread.

Having said that, I know that the Malta Stock Exchange strives hard at all times to live up to its motto "Integrity Generates Confidence". I must say that I have full faith in the management of the Malta Stock Exchange and my conviction is strengthened by the company they are keeping as evidenced by the presence here today of Mrs Menges and Mr De Marez Oyens.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt