JAKARTA: Indonesia is planning regulation to ensure primary bond dealers produce only “factual” research, senior government officials said, in a move that is likely to add to bankers’ concerns about a growing backlash over negative investment commentary.
The officials’ remarks came after the Indonesian government cut its business ties with JPMorgan Chase & Co following a November downgrade by the U.S. bank in its Indonesian stocks recommendation to “underweight” from “overweight”.
While Indonesia has subsequently sought to reassure banks and research firms that they will not be sanctioned for their assessment of the country as long as it is “credible”, some Jakarta-based analysts at foreign banks have said they were becoming more cautious.
Suahasil Nazara, the Finance Ministry’s head of fiscal policy office, said on Friday that primary bond dealers have to ensure their assessments of Indonesia are based on facts and do not cause a disruption to the financial system.
“The point is, the analysis has to be credible and correspond to factual data,” Nazara said in a text message. A primary bond dealer is a bank or a securities firm appointed by the finance minister that can buy government bonds in auctions and resell them in the secondary market. Indonesia had 19 such dealers as of Nov. 25.
The regulation will “hopefully” be released next week and will govern the accountability of analysis or the release of information, Robert Pakpahan, director-general of budget financing and risk management, said in a text message.
“The publication of analysis and opinion that is inaccurate, speculative in nature and not based on facts will not be allowed,” Pakpahan said, adding that the regulation has to be approved by the finance minister.
In the JPMorgan case, the Finance Ministry dropped the U.S. bank’s services as a primary dealer for domestic sovereign bonds and as an underwriter for bonds sold to the global market. The bank also no longer receives certain transfers of state revenue.
JPMorgan said in response that the impact on its clients was minimal and that it continued to operate its business as usual in Indonesia.