The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has implored Shareholders to continue to uphold high ethical standards and promote new strategies to strengthen accountability amongst market participants in the Nigerian Capital Market.
The advise was given by the Director General of the SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda during the 2022 edition of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria Triennial Delegates Conference held in Lagos recently.
Yuguda stated that in 2016, pursuant to Section 8(y) of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), the Commission released a Code of Conduct for Members of Shareholders’ Associations to guide their conduct during general meetings of public companies and their relationship with public companies outside the general meetings, and for other purposes connected therewith.
According to him, This Code is still in force, and is intended to ensure the highest standard of conduct amongst members and the companies with whom they interact as bona fide shareholders.
He said, “The Code is designed to ensure that association members uphold high ethical standards and make positive contributions in ensuring that the affairs of public companies are run in an ethical and transparent manner in compliance with the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance and the SEC Corporate Governance Guidelines.
“I urge you to continue to abide by this Code of Conduct for Members of Shareholders’ Associations by being disciplined and ensuring good governance.
“We therefore urge this association to continue to improve performance of the function of monitoring of companies to contribute to their growth by reviewing Audited Reports and Accounts prior to AGMs to raise germane observations on key areas.
The SEC DG urged the shareholders to continue to promote their core activities which centers on Minority Shareholder protection, advancement of corporate governance and development of a deep and robust capital market.
He described the theme of the conference which focuses on reforming the judicial system in order to stabilize and encourage the growth of the Nigerian economy, as very important and relevant to the growth and development of Nigeria and commended the shareholders for the excellent support the Commission has been receiving from the various Shareholder Associations in the country, especially, the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN).
“ISAN is one of the largest and foremost shareholders’ advocacy groups in the country. We are proud to be associated with your core activities which center on minority shareholder protection, advancement of corporate governance and development of a deep and robust capital market.
“The judiciary has also been contributing to the development of the capital market through its role of adjudicating over matters involving stakeholders in the capital market. As the SEC continues its important regulatory work of protecting both
foreign and domestic investors who invest their funds in the Nigerian Capital Market, we will continue to partner with and engage the judiciary, and other relevant stakeholders
Yuguda stated that in an increasingly competitive global environment for capital flows, foreign investors consider the strength and independence of a regulator in their investment decisions.
He stated that it is therefore a matter of urgent national priority to continue to send the right signals to the investing world that the Nigerian capital market is indeed soundly regulated by a strong and independent SEC, devoid of conflicting interference from any arms of Government.
“The SEC is happy to have, over the years, enjoyed the support of the Nation’s courts in the quest to build a vibrant capital market that can contribute to achieving our national objectives.
“The Judiciary’s important work impacts market integrity, investor confidence, market development and market fairness. It is clear that without fair, prompt and effective dispensation of justice, capital markets can never develop. Therefore, in our quest to develop a vibrant capital market in Nigeria, we cannot afford to overlook the central role of the Judiciary.
That said, the SEC DG stated that there is room for reform in the judiciary especially on issues around investor protection and dispute resolution mechanisms in the Nigerian capital market adding that the Commission supports this reform and is happy to play a role in it.
“As regulator of this dynamic market, the Commission is focused on facilitating capital raising for sustainable national development and transformation of Nigeria’s priority economic sectors, thereby effectively contributing to the national economy.
“Our focus has always centered on the creation of an ecosystem whereby issuers, whether government, entrepreneurs and other businesses, can access capital efficiently. The process of raising money through the capital market plays a vital role in our economy and will help bring nascent ideas into life” he added.