The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has published a consultation paper seeking comments about proposed changes to ASX Listing Rules Guidance.
The changes expand guidance given for analyst and investor briefings, analyst forecasts, consensus estimates and earnings surprises.
A major rewrite had taken place in May 2013 after input from Australia’s regulator, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the markets.
It gave an update on earnings guidance, de facto earnings guidance, earnings surprises and correcting analyst forecasts.
The ASX has decided that events since then have shown that firms need further guidance. Such events included a report on the handling of confidential information that was written by ASIC and an A$1.2 million penalty was imposed by the federal courts on a company for contravening its continuous disclosure obligations.
ASX expressed a concern that guidance had been misinterpreted to mean that listed entities needed to give an earnings update just because their actual or projected earnings differ from consensus forecasts by a small amount, and that might have led to listed firms trying to shape analyst forecasts in a non-public or selective manner.
The proposed changes, on which the consultation is now taking place, address concern by advisingon when an earnings surprise has to be disclosed.