WI Carr clients in doubt on debt

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 January, 1998, 12:00am

Banks frantically backtracking from research reports that anger powerful politicians is not a new phenomenon.

This week saw Indosuez W I Carr Securities join the ignoble list of firms to eat humble pie.

Claims that Indonesia's total foreign debt was almost twice central bank estimates were put down to the Jakarta-based analyst exceeding his brief.

Violent movements in the rupiah were ascribed to the report, which was released eight days before Tuesday's recantation.

Given the market reaction, you might have thought the Hong Kong-based economist charged with signing off the research would have made a speedy disclaimer.

Instead, it took pressure from the Indonesian Government to force a change of mind.

All banks balance corporate relationships and research objectivity when dealing in Asian markets.

Yet, when one so shamefacedly wriggles out by blaming an employee rather than accepting responsibility, a bad taste is left in the mouth.

Firms like Indosuez W I Carr Securities are in the agency broking game.

They have little to recommend them but the quality and integrity of their research and broking skill.

And what of their clients that traded on the basis of that report over the last week?