24 OCTOBER 2001

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Burridge confirms that decline in equity market not linked to budget measures

Speaking to The Malta Financial and Business Times, Ivan Burridge President of the college of stockbrokers said that the decline in local equity market preceded the last budget.

Yet he insisted that the introduction of a tax on Collective Investment Scheme was followed by a lot of talk about level playing fields. He said that the imagination was that this might apply to activity on the Malta Stock Exchange, and this was found to be very discouraging.

The Government has not elaborated on this, it might elaborate positively or say nothing. Known for his abrasive style, he added: "Saying nothing is probably the best thing to do."

Mr Burridge did not comment on the fact that much of the fuss about tax on collective investment schemes was cooked up the Labour spokesman involved in financial services sector.

Mr Burridge said that when he speaks of policies that have only looked at the money being made on the market he refers to tax on profits.

Losses this year are substantial and there are few people who will not be able to set off their profits against losses, so consequently there isn't any tax to be paid. As a result goodwill has been lost to little purpose.

Mr Burridge said that equities are standing at an all time low.

They do present a great buying opportunity and there are few Stockbrokers who would say that this is not the case. But you never know what a Market does and no one can be certain. No bells ring at the bottom of the Market nor at the top.

Mr Burridge who is remembered for his outburst during the Prime Minister’s visit to the stock exchange concluded: "The College does not want to become a political football since our business is simply investment and not politics. We have refrained therefore from replying to a lot of the current flak since the Investment business and politics do not mix."

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