Awhile back I had sent the Executive Manager of the IASD some questions and he was so kind to respond to them. I will list some of the question and answers here so you can read them with the Managers permission of course.
13 September 2006
1. What is The Iraqi Association of Securities Dealers.
IASD registers member firms, and provides education to industry professionals in order for them to be licensed by the Commission. We also provide information to investors. Established in September 2004 with a total of 51 brokerage companies, the IASD is administered by a Board and by member Committees. IASD Secretariat provides services for members, issuers, administration, and training to brokers and principals to obtain their license.
2. Would you explain your position and just a little of your background and how you obtained the position you now have? Give info what you feel comfortable of giving.
I am the Executive manager of the IASD, directs the activities of the Association including training, advocacy, and outreach efforts aimed at promoting the overall interest of the organization. I acquired early in my education life GCE O & A levels from the UK, BSC in Science from the University of Baghdad and a Diploma in Financing SMEs from the Arab Institute for Banking in Amman. I have long experience in Portfolio management at the first Financial Investment Company in Iraq ,Alamin FI CO, also a listed on the ISX and have worked after that in a number of international organizations in the promotion and developments of the capital market environments in Iraq, Visited the UK in 2005 showcasing the investment opportunities in Iraq to major Capital and financial Investments Institutions. I was approached by my colleagues in the business to run this young organization and felt this is a real challenge to me, and have made several achievements in developing the Association.
3. What is your projection of the Iraq Stock Exchange short term and long term?
The corner stone of any market is a proper and robust legislation, which people trust, once you have such a system in place then investors can trust there would be accountable reporting measures, well defined disclosure mechanism of companies and well defined roll for the commission oversight. There are enormous tasks ahead before a law can be in place to redirect the market into a more lucrative path; A law of such a national importance can develop to become the backbone of the economy. The Securities Law has to address the defaults that have stifled developments so far and could not produce a proper conduit for foreign investment. If those concerns are met then I would expect the market to encounter a real recovery, robust and sustainable development in trading activities. The recent development in prices and the previous decline was mainly due to a rumor that a new investment law is a bout to be passed by parliament; this triggered a new wave of anticipation that finally the country is moving out of its long stagnation; this is a clear indication that the market has the potential of development. Drafting one law is not enough there should be a whole sense of liberation from the old socialist ideologies that the country finds very difficult to get rid off. The Free market Economy is the only way out for Iraq and that would also involve a minimum public involvement. Iraq is brimming with opportunities for investment and holds the third largest oil reserves in the world. So I think there are enormous opportunities for investment on the long run.
4. Do you have any contact with the Central Bank of Iraq? If you do in what capacity?
As an Association we are in close cooperation with ISC & ISX and have no working strategies with the Central Bank.
5. Where do you see the IASD in short term and long term?
I think the IASD could develop to become the privet sector safe guard, protecting the interests of investors, capacity building of its members, advocating for reforms and developing public awareness that would enhance efforts for a viable economy. IASD is an NGO and transparent in its activities it could acquire a profound position in the capital market components. IASD is already helping the market develop courses for brokers, to achieve a real synergy when finally automation is implemented at the ISX.
6. When will testing of the Electronic Trading on the ISX be completed? And when do you think it will open to the Region, such as neighboring Gulf Countries for actual real time trades?
Hopefully automation trading would be tested by June next year a system for, electronic clearance and settlement in trading, would include a depository, registry, Trading and clearance & settlement. I think opening to foreign investment and trading would depend on the investment law, and that shouldn’t take too long.
7. Do you see the Iraq Stock Exchange growing in the number of companies trading on the floor?
This should be one of the priorities of any market, because it’s a profit driven entity. There have be substantial growth in the number of listed companies over the past few months, at the ISX, from 85 in June 2005 to 93 companies in July 2006.
8. What would be the average price per share on the ISX in a more stable Iraq? What would be the minimum and what do you believe would be the maximum share Price?
The banking sector is the most favorable. 1 ID should be the minimum, but that would depend on the performance of companies and their capital. There is no upper or lower price limit on the ISX, it is a free market.
9. Is trading on the Iraq Stock Exchange out of the norm in the last 60 days? What could be the potential in your opinion?
Of course the prices are just unbelievable, normally prices are affected by performance of companies but when there is a general price decline, then that is certainly abnormal. I think the market would retain the normal prices traded before the sharp decline.
10. When do you believe the Central Bank of Iraq will revalue the Iraqi Dinar to a more legitimate exchange rate then the de facto peg as it currently stands?
I don’t see why the Central Bank needs to revalue the Currency, the exchange rate is almost stable.
11. The Iraqi Dinar has several security features on the banknote itself is there still a lot of counterfeit Iraqi Dinar in circulation?
I don’t know the figures of counterfeits in the country, however the currency in all its notes has several security features much better that the old notes before march 2003.
12. Do you believe the Central Bank of Iraq will replace the current banknotes and replace them with a new banknote?
May be they need to introduce coins and higher valued currency for easy transfers.
14. When do you see Iraq printing there own currency?
It has never happened in the past and I don’t think it needs to happen now.