By Chioma Obinagwam
Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has resolved to intensify monitoring and surveillance of the market in order to curb poor market conduct.
The Director General (DG) of the SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda stated this in an address at the Annual Stockbrokers Conference of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) with the theme: Capital Market as a Catalyst for Economic Development and Sustainable Growth held in Lagos.
Yuguda said capital market operators (CMOs) are the face of the market and they interact daily with investors adding that it is therefore important that they prioritise interest of investors over their own and be seen to demonstrate the highest level of integrity and transparency in conducting their activities.
According to him, “Poor conduct dissuades investors from our market and therefore counters our collective objective of broadening and deepening the market.
“We also expect that the institute will continue to make it mandatory for its members to undertake annual professional development programs that address emerging issues. I believe that this will go a long way in ensuring that the practitioners in the market are highly skilled and are equipped to make real impact towards growing the market
He noted that SEC would apply stiff sanctions to any operator who engages in unethical conduct.
Yuguda disclosed the SEC has led several initiatives to reposition the Nigerian capital market to better support sustainable economic growth and development through the articulation of responsive and adaptable Rules to support innovation and access to capital for small and medium enterprises, promotion of good corporate governance, an improved registration process, an adequate and transparent disclosure regime, enhanced enforcement machinery and dispute resolution mechanisms.
He said, “Most of our more recent efforts at developing our market are targeted at contributing to the growth of the national economy. For instance, the core objective of the ten-year Capital Market Master Plan is to position the capital market for an accelerated development of the national economy. Some level of success has been recorded from its implementation so far and efforts are currently on-going to re-launch it for better impact during the remaining period of its implementation.
“As stakeholders, it is important to have a common understanding of the role the capital market plays not just as a catalyst of economic development but the trend, drivers and preconditions for a robust and viable capital market. The World Bank acknowledges that there are many areas of this relationship where research has been found thin.
“It is equally important for investors to perceive the capital market and capital market intermediaries as working for them and not against them. May I therefore use this opportunity to implore the Institute to identify some specific areas that could be used as a stimulus to improve the current state of the market, such as; diversification of investment products; promotion of investor education and financial literacy; strengthening corporate governance and listing standards”.
The DG assured that the SEC will continue to take steps that empower trade groups and professional associations for more effective market regulation reassuring of the Commission’s commitment and determination to restore investor confidence, preserve market integrity and reduce systemic risk.
The SEC Boss commended the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) for organizing the yearly event adding that the annual conference has over the years established itself as a major calendar event on the schedule of policymakers and market participants.
In his remarks, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market, Hon. Ibrahim Babangida said the conference is an opportunity for the CIS to do an appraisal of its activities and impart in Nigeria’s economic growth and fashion out more and better ways to assist in alleviating the dwindling economy of the country as well as salvaging it from the present economic quagmire.
Babangida said this year’s conference came at a time the parliament is embarking on the legislative activities in the passage of the 2022 Appropriation Bill submitted by Mr. President and urged the stockbrokers to employ all their professionalism in collaborating with this legislative process.
“All the people of Nigeria want to see is a revamped economy, where there will be great inflow of investments by investors with a resultant real and positive economic growth.
“I want to reiterate that Nigeria and indeed African countries know the critical role the Institute and indeed the capital markets can play in transforming our economy via making conscious efforts to urgently develop a world class capital market. You must deploy all your arsenals to keep the vision of the Institute and indeed the expeditions of the Nigerian people and Africans at large.
“I assure that the House Committee on capital market and indeed the House of Representatives is always available to assist in any areas of legislation to actualise the vision of the Institute and making a Iberia capital Market a world class one,” he added.
Earlier in a welcome address, president of CIS, Mr. Babatunde Amolegbe said the Institute is committed to focusing on the economy and capital market advocacy with the intention of achieving inclusive snd efficient capital market as an essential tool for economic development
According to Amolegbe, “The capital market is still a virgin territory with so much opportunities available, so as stock brokers you are only limited by your own imaginations.
“This conference is unique as it delivers in the area of new economic issues to ensure that the capita market contributes to economic growth”.
Amolegbe said the institute has reviewed its membership rules and code of conduct to bring them up to world class standards and ensure professionalism adding that no person is permitted to perform core professional functions in the capital market without a obtaining certification of the CIS.