The Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mary Uduk, says the commission under her leadership is committed to developing the Nigerian capital market and making it one of the best in the world.
Ms. Uduk spoke on the opening day of 2018 SEC Journalists Academy, which held in Uyo from November 29-30. The SEC Academy is a workshop organized regularly by SEC to help deepen the understanding of journalists covering the capital market on developments within the sector.
The SEC DG said since 2008 the commission had focused its attention on leading the capital market to recovery. She said Part of the recovery plan was the development of the 10-Year Nigerian Capital Market Master Plan (2015-2025) by the Commission in collaboration with other stakeholders to map out strategies to improve key areas especially investor protection and education, professionalism, product innovation, and for the expansion of the capital market’s role in Nigeria’s economy.
“It is therefore our resolve to remain committed to developing our capital market in line with the 10-Year Master Plan. With 101 initiatives, the Master Plan has the potential to expedite the implementation of the nation’s economic agenda.
“I am delighted to inform you that the Commission, alongside other major stakeholders, has succeeded in implementing many of the initiatives of the Master Plan. For instance, we have ensured that all share certificates are fully dematerialized. This is to say that physical share certificates are now fully converted into electronic form in Nigeria. This initiative has further enhanced the market efficiency and transparency.
The SEC boss said the recapitalization of capital market operators was aimed at improving the baseline infrastructure of the CMOs, improves their market access and service delivery as well as enable them comply fully with the New Minimum Operating standard set by the Commission. She said these were aimed at helping the market develop robust controls; strong governance framework and effective human capital.
“As at December 30, 2016, which was the deadline given for all CMOs to recapitalize, 384 out of 449 CMOs had fully complied. More of them have done so afterwards,” she said.
Ms. Uduk reeled out a number of initiatives put in place to develop the capital and make it compete with the best in the world. One of these she said, was the National Investor Protection Fund (NIPF), which was established to compensate investors for pecuniary losses, boost their confidence and encourage the domestic retail investors back to the market.
She said the e-Dividend Mandate Management System (eDMMS) was developed to reduce the quantum of unclaimed dividends in the market and also enable direct payment of investors’ dividends into their nominated bank accounts. She said so far, 2.55 million accounts have been mandated under this system.
She added that to further boost investors’ confidence, enhance transparency and, eliminate fraud in the market; the Direct Cash Settlement (DCS) initiative was introduced. The DCS is an initiative that allows proceeds from sale of investors’ shares to settle directly into their account as against the system whereby the proceeds go to broker’s account before passing it to the investor. She said at the beginning the process was voluntary but was made compulsory from September, 2017.
The SEC boss said the SEC Corporate Governance Scorecard was equally developed and implemented with the aim of measuring level of compliance of the SEC Corporate Governance Codes and encourages better governance practices by public companies.
She noted that the development of non-interest finance is a major pillar in the improvement of the Nigerian capital market.
“In 2017, the First Sovereign Sukuk was issued to facilitate funding of infrastructure development of the country through the capital market. Before, then, Osun state was the first to issue a Sukuk to fund some educational projects.
“It is important to note that there is reduction of cost of issuance in the capital market in order to free up business resources, and encourage new market participants; thereby increasing the depth of the market which will also improve Nigeria’s rating in ‘Global competiveness’ and ‘Doing Business Index’. In 2013, the Financial Market Dealers Quotation (FMDQ) and National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) were registered by the Commission to serve as alternative trading platforms. In addition to AFEX commodity exchange, these platforms have contributed to diversifying the product offerings in the Nigerian capital market,” she stated.
She said the commission is still on the implementation process of several initiatives in addition to the above mentioned achievements. She listed the initiatives to include the integration of the Nigerian Capital Market into the West African Capital Market Integration Program, establishment of National Savings Strategy, establishment of the Industry-Wide Technology Infrastructure, development of Sound Commodities Trading Ecosystem, demutualization of the Nigerian Stock Exchanges, promoting New Listings, and infusion of Capital Market Studies into School Curriculum, among others.
She thanked journalists for their assistance in propagating the initiatives of the Commission and enjoined them to continue to support the SEC in its quest to educate and enlighten the investing public, as means of further deepening the market.