SEC Activates Business Continuity Process

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By Ndubuisi Francis

In compliance with the federal government’s directives on the restriction of movement in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has activated its business continuity process.

According to a circular dated March 31, 2020 and released by the SEC, staff of the Commission are working remotely while all its electronic channels remain open to provide the necessary support to capital market stakeholders.

The Commission noted that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and in furtherance of the its circular of March 24, 2020, it wishes to provide additional guidance to the capital market.

The circular said: “All public companies are required to continue to make material disclosures to investors on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on their business operations.

“They should also continue to disclose the trend and outlook for the company, and updates on implementation of business continuity plans. Public companies are to publish these disclosures on their websites and on other relevant media.

“Public companies who plan to conduct AGMs are required to ensure that the conduct of the meetings comply with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Investments and Securities Act, the SEC Rules and Regulations, relevant government and health circulars and guidelines issued in this regard.”

The circular noted that debt issuers were also expected to continue to engage trustees to and ensure that relevant disclosures are provided, adding that trustees are required to provide updates to the Commission accordingly.

SEC enjoined all capital market operators (CMOs) “to continue to monitor the real and potential risks COVID-19 may have on their business operations and the discharge of services to investors and clients,” stating that for further guidance, the Commission may be contacted through the dedicated email addresses for filing CMOs’ returns.

The SEC enjoined all issuers and trustees who may require further guidance to contact the Commission, stating that it will continue to engage and collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that the capital market remains resilient.

“While we work to maintain market stability, we encourage everyone to continue to comply with all directives issued by the federal government and relevant agencies during this challenging period,” the SEC added.