Shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre is guaranteed to cause a panicked scramble for the exits. The JSE now has its own equivalent: Viceroy Research. New York-based Viceroy, which comprises a team of only three people, bills itself as something of a white knight fighting for the rights of shareholders. It declares: "As global markets become more opaque and complex, and traditional gatekeepers and safeguards often compromised, investors and shareholders are at greater risk than ever of being misled or uninformed by public companies and their promoters and sponsors."Viceroy proved its point in spectacular style with Steinhoff. It released a research report shortly after the global retailer’s December 6 announcement that the release of its 2017 results had been delayed indefinitely, pending a probe into accounting irregularities. The damning report runs to 37 pages and is impressively thorough. And it raises the issue of why at least some aspects of the many irregularities revealed in t...

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