July 13, 2009 / 10:52 AM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-Italy's Consob says bank bonds lack transparency

* Bond offers should summarise factors that could hit yield

* Calls for international rules on short-selling

* Wants global coordination on “fair value” (Combines earlier, adds further comments from Consob)

MILAN, July 13 (Reuters) - Bonds issued by Italy’s banks do not have enough liquidity nor price transparency to make them suitable investments for retail customers, the head of Italy’s bourse regulator Consob said on Monday.

Over a third of investments by Italian families are in bank bonds.

“This paper in fact ... does not enjoy adequate liquidity nor price transparency,” Consob Chairman Lamberto Cardia said in the text of a written speech to launch the regulator’s 2008 report.

That provides conditions which are “particularly disadvantageous” to small investors, he said.

Cardia added that Consob would pay particular attention to the application of MiFID -- Markets in Financial Instruments Directive -- regulations to these types of issues.

He added that the regulator would be consulting shortly on possible changes to such public offers to include, for example, a summary of factors which could affect the expected yield and the level of risk.

Turning to short-selling, he said there should be international regulation to maintain liquidity and efficiency.

“Consob is aware of the need to define a stable and internationally-coordinated regulation for short-selling ... with the aim of keeping market integrity without compromising liquidity and the efficiency of price formation mechanisms,” he said in the speech.

Italy’s current curbs on short-selling run to the end of this month.

He criticised MiFID directives and European regulations on takeover practice, saying they had been weakened by compromises made to get them approved.

For Italy, he said current rules on takeovers and disclosure which were introduced to protect Italian companies from hostile bids during the worst of the financial crisis could be set time limits once the situation improved.

Cardia said that although the principle of “fair value” was not under discussion, the economic crisis had thrown up the need to rethink its application in valuing financial instruments.

“The issue should be considered at a global level, to ensure coherence between American and international standards,” Cardia said. (Reporting by Paola Arosio and Valentina Za, writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Jo Winterbottom; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

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