Your Investments Are Protected in Nigeria, SEC Assures Foreign Investors

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Nigeria on Sunday told foreign investors in Nigeria’s capital market that their investments are protected in the country.

The Acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, reportedly told a team from JP Morgan and Stanbic IBTC who visited the commission in Abuja, that all the necessary controls to secure their investments were in place.

Uduk also stated that the country’s capital market was dynamic, free, fair and transparent for participants to play.

According to a statement the commission sent to THISDAY, Uduk said SEC has embarked on several initiatives in a bid to ensure that investors in the market derive the benefits therein.

She said the implementation of the Capital Market Master Plan has led to significant changes in the market.

Some of the implemented initiatives, she noted, were dematerialisation of share certificates; re-capitalisation of capital market operators; establishment of the National Investors Protection Fund and inauguration of its board, as well as the launch of the corporate governance scorecard.

According to her, others included the implementation of the e-Dividend Mandate Management System; establishment of complaint management framework; transaction cost reduction; implementation of the direct cash settlement and the introduction of non-interest capital market products.

Uduk disclosed that the commission has equally put in place a robust investor protection machinery with severe sanctions on infractions of securities laws.

She said in the statement: “The implementation of this regime has led to the closure of various Ponzi schemes as well as the recovery of millions of naira belonging to innocent investors.

“SEC champions zero tolerance on infractions and we have a range of sanctions depending on the level of infraction and how egregious the breach is, ranging from warnings, fines, suspensions, withdrawal of registrations and jail terms. The idea is to improve transparency in the market and ensure that investors are safe.”

On surveillance, Uduk said the commission has surveillance mechanisms in place to detect possible suspicious trading and market manipulation activities.

The statement equally quoted Nick Long, a representative of JP Morgan, to have said in his remarks that JP Morgan was satisfied with the performance of the Nigerian capital market.

Long reportedly said that it was one of the reasons why the country’s capital market has continued to attract international investors.

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