Securities Authority discusses Enron scandal fallout

Securities Authority Chairman Miri Katz yesterday convened a special meeting of the authority's senior personnel to discuss the Enron scandal, TheMarker has learned.

This is the first time that the authority has convened to discuss issues that are related to the affair. The authority hopes to draw its own conclusions from the scandal, in order to prevent such scandals happening in Israel.

Participants in the meeting analyzed Enron reports and testimony given by senior Enron executives at congressional hearings.

Given that this was the first meeting, no operative conclusions were reached, but it was decided to examine existing accounting regulations, specifically, auditing and proper disclosure. The likely conclusion will be that companies must provide information to the public about deals involving parties associated with the company.

The authority is expected to especially examine issues relating to proper disclosure concerning off-balance sheet activities, such those conducted by Enron executives through partnerships. Enron investors were not aware of these activities, which were not included in the reports and eventually led to Enron's collapse.

The authority plans to amend existing regulations so that public companies are required to report a profit warning. The present regulations do not include such a requirement, only a general requirement to immediately report irregular events that can significantly affect corporate profit.

The authority has in the past discussed this profit-warning requirement but it wasn't finalized. It is now expected to be pushed forward. The main question remaining is the criteria requiring immediate disclosure of a profit warning.

The authority is also likely to discuss the responsibility of board members of public companies regarding financial reports. The authority favors weightier responsibility relating to corporate accounting compliance.

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