SEC To Clean Up Market Of Irregularities, Targets Illegal Market Operators 

Yemisi Izuora

The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr Lamido Yuguda, on Thursday said management is entrenching transparency to boost investors confidence and would decisively clamp down on illegal operators luring unsuspecting investors in the market.

Yuguda said  this in an address delivered at the first Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting in 2020.

The CMC is a medium for exchange of ideas among market stakeholders, as well as for feedback to Securities and Exchange Commission on how to continuously improve the market activities and regulation.

It comprises members of the Commission, representatives of capital market operators and trade groups and other stakeholders.

The director general said at the meeting that the commission would further strengthen its enforcement regime and ensure that erring market operators were duly penalised to protect investors.

He said that the commission needed to restore investor confidence in the market.

“The commission recognises that a fair, transparent and orderly market, with a sound regulatory framework, can promote trust and restore this confidence.

“In turn, this improves the credibility of the capital market necessary to attract retail, institutional and foreign participants.

“We will also be focusing on the investor experience, seeking to make it easier for the investor to understand and access the market,” Yuguda said.

The SEC boss said that the commission would pay attention to issues around e-dividend and the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the market.

“To this end, we shall be paying attention to issues around e-dividend and the quantum of unclaimed dividends we have.

“We believe that to make retail investors return to the market, their concerns must be addressed.

“Market conduct must also be improved, and bad behaviour rooted out,” he said.

Speaking on ways to deepen the market, he said the commission would focus on non-interest issuance to attract more capital.

“We have seen how successful Sovereign Sukuk issues have been, and wonder why we are yet to have sub-national and corporate issues.

“We must end the barriers and remove them, as this will help deepen the market and attract more capital into it,” Yuguda said.

He assured that the commission would continue to engage with agencies and other key stakeholders on issues such as favourable tax regimes, margin loans, investor data and identity management, among others.

Yuguda said COVID-19 pandemic had underscored the importance of technology to product and process development, cost-cutting measures in general operations and regulatory efficiency.

“It is therefore important that we introduce innovation to our activities both as operators and regulators.

“The commission, on its part, has resolved to improve its efficiency, maintain best practice standards and make better use of technology.

“We will also examine our processes with the aim of removing bottlenecks wherever they may be.

“We will keep our eyes on time-to-market and always bear in mind that the capital market competes with the banking market for issuers, and we must become more competitive.

“Market operators must equally improve the quality of their documentation and ensure that their submissions are fully compliant with the Rules and Regulations of the Commission.

“They must also ensure that identified deficiencies are promptly addressed.

“We will also be focusing on the investor experience, seeking to make it easier for the investor to understand and access the market,” Yuguda said.

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