KUWAIT, April 30 Kuwait's market watchdog has
extended by 18 months a year-end deadline for listed companies
to comply with new corporate governance rules after realising
that some firms would have struggled to be ready on time.
The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) issued the regulations
in June 2013 and originally said they had to be implemented by
the end of this year. It said on Wednesday that it was now
giving companies until the end of June 2016 to implement them.
The rules include separating the positions of chairman and
chief executive, prompt disclosure of information to the market,
and establishing internal controls and risk management.
"The Capital Markets Authority is aware of constraints that
may hinder some of the companies concerned from applying the
rules of governance," the regulator said in a statement.
It urged companies to implement the rules, which it said
would promote investor confidence in the Gulf state's financial
sector. There are about 200 listed companies in Kuwait.
A Reuters survey of a dozen international fund managers in
February found they ranked Kuwait lowest among five big Middle
Eastern markets for corporate disclosure and enforcement of
regulations against improper or illicit trading.
Some corporate executives and investors have welcomed the
effort to clamp down on suspicious activities and potential
conflicts of interest, and several major companies have changed
their corporate structures accordingly.
Others, however, have complained that the CMA is leading a
clumsy crackdown and increasing the amount of bureaucracy that
companies have to deal with.
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Mark Heinrich)