* The BSE may be taken off the watchlist
* FTSE only noted improvements when it comes to stock lending, while the liquidity requirement has not yet been met
* Poland, upgraded to the emerging market status
* Mongolia and Nigeria, removed from the watchlists
The Bucharest Stock Exchange (BSE) remains a frontier market, for at least a year, after, on Friday night, FTSE Russell did not give promote it. Being placed on the watchlist for the FTSE evaluation was celebrated pompously last year, there was a flurry of press releases from the main market players, and Ludwik Sobolewski, the CEO of the BSE, said it was "a historic day".
Now, it's all quiet.
Besides, Lucian Anghel, the president of the BSE, announced on Thursday, that we shouldn't get our hopes up over a promotion, because the FTSE may keep us on the watchlist for at least 2 years. Anghel had previously alluded that the promotion could happen in 2020, even though last year Sobolewski was hoping it would happen quickly.
Friday's FTSE report shows that Romania has made significant progress not only when it comes to stock lending, which went from "unmet requirement", to "restricted". The liquidity requirement set by the FTSE to consider us an emerging market has not been met.
Following Friday's evaluation, Poland has moved to the developed market status, and Kuwait, to that of emerging market status, whereas Mongolia and Nigeria have been removed from the watchlist.
The removal of the two countries from the watchlist needs to be taken as a warning by Romania.
Some are saying that if the other ratings firm - MSCI - doesn't place us on the watchlist in June 2018, then there is a high likelihood of FTSE removing us from the list in September 2018.
When in March, FTSE Russell found that the BSE had not made any progress over September 2016, the BSE started issuing press releases announcing that it was expecting a promotion from the MSCI firm.
Friday's FTSE report shows that the BSE still has to meet four requirements in order to be promoted to emerging market status. According to FTSE Russell, we don't yet have a free and developed stock market, we don't meet the requirements for custodian operations, the liquidity and outside the market transactions.
Especially after the expiration of the mandate of former CEO Ludwik Sobolewski, the BSE started a self-promotion campaign, sending several press releases praising his achievements, by selecting the criteria he pleased when evaluating those achievements, instead of referring to the objectives in his contract or at least to the ones required by the ratings firms. President Lucian Anghel in particular showed that the BSE was more concerned with its perception than with conducting a dispassionate self-evaluation. Lately, Anghel has struggled real hard to help Sobolewski get a new term, instead of the latter's failure to achieve his contractual objectives and of his transgressions.
On the other hand, FTSE Russell gave us a blunt assessment of our market and ended the string of exaggerations of the BSE. In short, the emperor is naked.
FTSE Russell is a company which is a part of the London Stock Exchange Group, specialized in providing index calculations, which since 1985 has been providing a model for evaluating frontier, emerging and developed markets, a model which has been extended currently to 72 countries.
ADINA ARDELEANU (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)