Economy, Business And Markets

SEO, Economy Ministry Oppose Disclosure of Investors’ Info

SEO, Economy Ministry Oppose Disclosure of Investors’ InfoSEO, Economy Ministry Oppose Disclosure of Investors’ Info

The Organization of Targeted Subsidies' request from the Securities and Exchange Organization to release information about ownership of financial securities and personal details of investors has led to strong expressions of disapproval.

The request triggered a rebuttal from the Economy Ministry, which issued a firm statement on Wednesday, and SEO head, Mohammad Fetanat-Fard, who denied any cooperation with OTS on Tuesday, Bourspress reported.

"Disclosing information about shareholders, directly or indirectly, entails criminal punishment," read the statement by the ministry. "Based on the securities market law and the new financial securities and institutions' development law, SEO is responsible for safeguarding institutional and non-institutional shareholders."

“We deny any cooperation in providing shareholder information or any effort to spy on people’s assets,” said Fetanat.

OTS is collecting data on the assets and income of citizens to assess their eligibility for the ongoing cash subsidy plan. The organization is tasked by the parliament to remove 24 million people from the program—a majority of Iranian citizens monthly receive $12 each to help cover living costs, like the Universal Basic Income.

To help determine people’s wealth, OTS sent a letter to the Economy Ministry on May 23 asking for personal identification information and value of shares owned by individuals.

The organization requested the information be delivered before June 4. The letter’s existence was acknowledged this week.

Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia “strongly objected” to the request in a Bourse High Council meeting on Tuesday, a council member told Boursepress.

The cash subsidy program was originally conceived to replace food and fuel subsidies with direct payments to poor families. However, the government kicked the plan off by paying anyone who subscribed for the plan—in this case, most of the population.

The plan’s cost overruns and a gaping fiscal hole are forcing the government to try and pay subsidies more effectively.

Last year, after public pleas by the president for the well-off to opt out of the plan failed, so the OTS set about eliminating high earners from the plan. They cut three million from the program in 12 months.

However, the parliament has put the screws on the government. It mandated the government to identify and cut a further 24 million people from the plan in six months. The mandate met with fierce resistance from the government that called the decision rash and impractical.

Without access to personal information and the absence of any comprehensive data on individual economic status, OTS will be unable to carry out the parliamentary mandate in a judicious manner.

The absence of information is not just the problem of OTC. The tax administration is also struggling to tax people properly for the same reason.