By Eromosele Abiodun
Operators in the Nigerian capital market have commended the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the new registration model outline by the SEC at a meeting in Lagos.
The operators who made this known at the registration meeting, claimed that the initiative to hold the meeting in Lagos was a novel and helpful one to them. About 125 firms and 304 sponsored individuals participated in the meeting.
Speaking to THISDAY after the exercise, some of the operators that attended the meeting said it was cost saving for them. In addition, they described the meeting as friendly, engaging and conducted in a more relaxed environment without causing major disruption in their businesses.
Registration of operators, which is one of the regulatory tools of SEC, is usually carried out at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja. It is to ensure that only capital market operators (both individuals and firms) who are ‘fit and proper’ get the approval of the commission to operate in the securities market. For the first time over the last 18 months, the meeting was held between Wednesday and Friday in Lagos, during which over 250 operators were interviewed.
The operators disclosed that they were highly encouraged by the new style of the meeting. Specifically, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FBN Securities Limited, Mr. Bisi Oni, said he was highly delighted with the new initiative which he said, resulted in cost and time saving for his institution.
“Holding the registration meeting in Lagos is a very good proPoSition for us as individual and company. Apart from cost savings, it has also saved us time. The cost of going to Abuja is high with the attendant hotel accommodation costs. Even if we were to go early in the morning and the same day, later in the day, there is cost of rushing to the airports, both in Lagos and Abuja,” he said.
According to him, this development was a great relief to them.
He noted that on the first day alone there were able to save over N1.3 million the stockbrokers would have incurred if it was in Abuja.
“ Also, while having it done in Lagos, we were still able to coordinate our businesses with little or no disruption. This is very encouraging and we want the commission to continue like this, especially now that our incomes are going down,” he said.
“The climate under which the interview was conducted was very encouraging. The mien has changed greatly. It is no longer what can be termed as master-servant relationship; rather it was a very engaging discussion between us and SEC officials.” Oni declared.
On his part, Chief Executive Officer of Arthur Steven, an asset management company, Mr. Lawrence Onyiuke, said the new management in SEC had shown wonderful pragmatism in handling this registration issues, which ought to have been done several months back and we are very satisfied.
“The new management in SEC has shown pragmatism in handling this registration issue, many of the registration applications have been with the commission for over 20 months. This effort of the new management is clearly commendable. Things like these are what build confidence in the market as new companies would start doing business while others with lesser number of sponsored individuals will have the required number as specified by the regulation”
Also speaking, chief executive of a stockbrokerage firm, who also accompanied his sponsored individual to the meeting, said he was equally impressed with the registration meeting, which he described as long over-due and now being conducted. He explained that it would help put the market on the path of recovery and growth.
“Several operators can now participate in the market, making investors to have alternatives. Competition will bring in better service and people would have confidence that whatever issues they have in the course of transacting businesses in the market will be treated with dispatch, ” he declared.
The new management of the commission kicked off this round of registration meetings in its Lagos Zonal Office, with a view to addressing the accumulation of applications from market operators who had sought to register for various functions in the market in the past 18 months.
At the marathon session, a total of 125 companies and 304 sponsored individuals were interviewed. The individuals were sponsored as additional individuals/compliance officers. The firms included broker/dealers, issuing houses, registrars, corporate investment advisers and estate surveyors/valuers.