Index provider FTSE is reviewing responses to its consultation on the nationality allocations of stocks with an Asian listing but no business connections to the region.
The firm has sought the opinions of clients in Asia – institutional investors, banks and consultants – who use its All-World Index series and Global Equity Index series.
Nationality rules for its global series, for example, by default assign a stock that is listed and trades in only one country to that country, regardless of where it is incorporated. Examples include cosmetics firm L’Occitane, fashion house Prada and luggage maker Samsonite.
FTSE is conscious that users of its global series are generally seeking access to all available investment opportunities and that their prime concern is that nationalities assigned to stocks should be congruent with the time zone in which they trade.
But users of regional or local subsets of its global series are more concerned that sub-sets such as 'Asia' or 'Hong Kong' encapsulate economic relevance to the region.
“Global users are agnostic to nationality allocation in so far as they want our indices to be fully inclusive and don’t want stocks to be orphaned,” says Christopher Woods, FTSE's London-based managing director of governance and policy.
“Their concern is ease of trading," he adds. "But the local response is mixed. If you are tracking the Hong Kong index or an Asian index, you are more sensitive to [nationality allocation] than if you are tracking a global index. Some would prefer Prada to be designated as an Italian stock and therefore appear in the European index.”
Woods notes that the purpose of its consultation was to determine where the balance of opinion lies with a view to coming up with alternative solutions.
“If it transpires that there is a sizeable cohort of managers and investors in the region that want indices run according to different nationality assignments, then FTSE will be responsive to that, either by producing alternative regional indices or if the number is relatively few, then by customising for those clients,” he adds.
He notes that via its consultation FTSE is also seeking to judge appetite for an alternative index series that would be free to operate according to different eligibility criteria.
FTSE plans to discuss the findings of the consultation at internal committee level before tabling a response, likely by March next year.