Mary Uduk

The Nigerian capital market would soon introduce the electronic initial public offer (e-IPO) system in the country, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Wednesday.

The commission said it was also committed to engaging the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to facilitate identity validation and account validation to enhance market processes.

It said the engagement with NIBSS on behalf of the capital market community on the issue was aimed at enhancing the e-dividend mandate and direct cash settlement initiatives in the market.

Again, the commission said it would work with other major interest groups in setting up a committee to proffer solutions to problems around identity management in the Nigerian capital market.

These were part of the resolutions by operators and interest groups during the third quarterly Nigerian Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting to discuss issues related to the development and growth of a modern capital market.

A communique at the end of the meeting disclosed SEC was awaiting the final report of the e-IPO Committee to enable it issue guidelines and develop the rules for e-IPOs.

The committee is expected to submit its report to the commission in two weeks, just as the committee on minimum operating standards submitted its final report.

Acting director general of SEC, Mary Uduk, said a timeframe for implementation of the standards would soon be announced.

Ms Uduk announced that only six trade groups have so far registered with the commission, in compliance with the directive to facilitate implementation of the complaints management framework in the capital market.

Capital market operators (CMOs) are also expected to register with their respective trade groups.

To eliminate underhand dealings, Ms Uduk said the commission would soon commence enforcement actions against persons engaged in trading in the shares of public unlisted companies outside recognized securities exchange as provided by the relevant regulations.

On efforts to enhance investors’ confidence in the capital market, the acting DG said SEC was stepping up efforts to ensure public unlisted companies provide quarterly and annual performance reports to assist investors make more informed investment decisions.

Other resolutions include the need to grow the market for trading in securities on unlisted public companies.

The SEC boss said the commission was collaborating with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and other interest groups to assist public companies yet to register their securities to do so without much difficulty.

On efforts to institute a stand-alone capital market curriculum for basic and senior secondary education in the country, Ms Uduk said the commission was working with National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to achieve it.

“This collaboration has reached an advanced stage, as the Planning and Writing Workshop took place during the week. The respective Trade Groups resolved to honour their commitments towards funding the initiative,” she said.

Also, the Financial Literacy Committee, she said, has already developed a web page dedicated to providing relevant financial literacy material on the capital market and the financial sector for investors. She said a link has also been created on the commission’s website.

On the proposed arrangement to ensure public companies distribute electronic annual accounts to shareholders, the acting DG said report confirmed shareholders have largely accepted the new initiative and were willing to provide their email addresses for that purpose.

During the meeting, a financial technology (Fintech) Roadmap Committee, chaired by Ade Bajomo, was inaugurated, with a mandate to develop a Fintech roadmap for the capital market within the next three months.

The meeting, attended by capital market operators, featured presentations by various market technical committees, self-regulatory organisations and other interest groups.

On the lingering issue of multiple subscriptions and forbearance for investors with multiple accounts, the CMC resolved to extend by another year, from December 31, 2018, the deadline to regularise their records.

“We expect investors to take advantage of this opportunity to claim their unclaimed dividends and bonuses,” Ms Uduk said.

To address challenges associated with transmission of shares related to the estate of deceased investors, the commission resolved to engage with and enlighten the probate registry on the issue to resolve the problems in the process of transmitting shares.

Besides, the commission is considering developing rules around the timeframe for transmission shares and the fee structure in the market.

“The commission is also collaborating with the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) to update regulations on margin lending.

“To develop a vibrant commodities eco-system, the commission has commenced the implementation of measures to strengthen regulatory capacity by establishing a Commodities Division,” the communique said.

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