By Goddy Egene
Capital market stakeholders have called on the new acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),Â Mary UdukÂ Â Â and executive commissioners to move fast and restoreÂ Â investor confidence in the market.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, last Friday, appointedÂ Uduk as the newÂ Â acting DGÂ Â and redeployedÂ Â Dr. Abdul Zubair, who had heldÂ Â that position since late NovemberÂ Â last year.
The minister also appointed ReginaldÂ Â Karawusa as acting Executive Commissioner, Legal and Enforcement; Isiyaku Tilde, acting Executive Commissioner, Operations and Henry Roland Adekunle, acting Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services.
AdeosunÂ Â explained thatÂ Â Udukâ€™s appointment had become necessary to ensure effective regulation of the capital market.
Reacting to the development, a shareholder and member of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Moses Igbrude said, though he never expected the changes, but since the minister has said the appointments are to ensure effective regulation, Uduk and her team should do just that.
â€œThe truth is that confidence in the market has been very low since the suspension of Mounir Gwarzo. Zubair, who was acting before last Friday, did not done much, probably due to lack of a board. But now that the minister has also appointed three commissioners with Uduk as DG, they must work hard to restore investorsâ€™ confidence. But the minister should go a step further by prevailing on the federal government to constitute the board of SEC,â€ Igbrude said.
According to him, given the experiences of theÂ Â Uduk and the three commissioners, they have the capacity to address all issues affecting investor confidence and ensure more participation in the market.
â€œHaving opened this year on positive to maintain the growth recorded last year, the market has remained very bearish in the last two months and one of the major reasons is the lack of direction from the market regulator. But I am confident the situation will change for the better now,â€ he added.
A senior stockbroker, who spoke to THISDAY on the condition of anonymity, said it is a big relief that the commission now has commissioners who will work with the DG to give direction in the market and ensure stronger regulation. What is now left is to make sure that SEC gets full board to further empower the executives of the commission for optimum regulation.
The broker saidÂ Â the best forumÂ Â to unveil her plans for the market is the forthcoming Capital Market Committee, where chief executives of broking firms and otherÂ Â self regulatory organisations (SRO) willÂ Â be present.
â€œBut the ultimate catalyst the market needs now is a board for SEC. The federal government, should, without delay constitute a board for the commission. So long as the commission is without a board, investor confidence will remain low and the regulator will lack the moral justification to enforce rules that have to do with corporate governance issuesÂ Â among others,â€ the broker said.
He noted that given Udukâ€™sÂ Â she has theÂ Â experienceÂ needed to drive the market, adding that she needs the full complement of a board to succeed in her new task.
Uduk joined the commission in 1986 as an assistant financial analyst.
Her career as a regulator has spanned many functions and departments in the commission, from corporate finance, administration, to providing structural, policy and due diligence for capital market transaction.
She has also been responsible for managing several landmark capital market projects, including the registration of capital market operators, articulating rules for bonds and equities; mergers, acquisitions and takeovers, among others.
Uduk also served as the pioneer Head of the Operations Division in the Lagos Zonal Office, and has headed various departments in the commission, includingÂ Â Internal Control, Investment Management, Financial Standards and Corporate Governance and Securities.