PSE to defer new MPO rule

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The execution of a higher minimum public ownership (MPO) rule among listed companies may still not be finalized this year, a top official from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) said.

In an interview with reporters, the PSE’s chief executive hinted that the implementation of a higher MPO rule may still not push through this year because of certain issues.

From 10-percent public float requirement, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been mulling over the plan to start requiring companies to have at 15 percent up to 20 percent of their shares held by the public.

“We need to talk about it [with SEC]and we have to review it as well,” said Hans Sicat, PSE president and chief executive, told reporters on the sidelines of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Annual Reception for the Banking Community held on Friday night.


According to him, the intention to hike the public ownership requirement has “been raised a number of times, including the Capital Market Development council.”

“We have to figure out [if the implementation can push through within this year]because right now, we are at an average 30-percent public float. The problem we are looking at with that particular number is you are looking at the smallest sliver,” Sicat said.

“There are few companies at the 10-percent level but there are a lot of companies above that. By increasing it, the question is if we are hitting the most important sectors or just marginal improvements,” he added.

Asked if the market is ready for a higher public float, Sicat only said, “We will have to study that.”

In 2011, the local bourse strictly reimposed the 10-percent MPO rule among listed firms, setting June 2013 as the deadline for compliance. State-run PNOC Exploration Corp. was the only company that failed to meet the deadline and was automatically delisted from the local bourse in July.

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