By Omobayo Azeez
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has put all its trading floors under locks and resorted to remote trading only.
Oscar Onyema, chief executive officer (CEO) of the exchange said management of the exchange considered this decision imperative to curb further spread of corona virus (Covid-19) endemic in the country.
He said in a statement that “effective from Tuesday, March 24, 2020, we have activated a 30-day remote working plan for our employees excluding essential staff.”
He added that this is in furtherance of precautionary health measures activated three weeks ago across all its offices where visitors are screened with thermometers, provided sanitizers and minimized access into our premises.
“We take seriously our role of providing an efficient market that allows investors access to liquidity even in the most trying of times.
“In order to give our dealing members enough notice, effective Wednesday, March 25 , 2020 all our trading floors will be temporarily closed, although remote trading will continue and NSE staff will be available through all our digital platforms to provide support.
“We regret any inconvenience this may cause in the discharge of your business activities, but we must act in the best interest of all stakeholders at this time.
“In line with our robust Business Continuity Management framework, we would like to reassure you that we have put in place measures to ensure our operations and trading activities continue seamlessly throughout this period,” Onyema said.
He added that the bourse will ensure that all relevant information continues to flow into the market to ensure the pricing of risk assets remains transparent and reliable across asset classes to allow investors to value their portfolios and make informed investment decisions under these volatile conditions.
He encouraged dealing members to continue to trade remotely via available electronic platforms such as FIX protocol and XNET, and reach out to their compliance officer if any support is required, adding that the exchange will provide manual support to members without remote access during this period.
Onyema also said that all physical meetings within and outside the NSE premises have been suspended until further notice.
“We have instructed our employees to leverage technological tools to conduct meetings virtually. We assure you that our virtual lines of communication will remain open to engage with you and attend to your needs.
“Please contact us via e-mail, mobile phone or other digital channels if you have any questions, comments, complaints or observations in this regard.
“We understand that these are trying times, but we are committed to ensuring we do not experience any disruptions to our operations. As we navigate this new reality, we encourage you to follow our various communication channels as we continue to share relevant updates,” he further explained.
Despite the situation at hand, the NSE however, directed issuers to continue to submit all regulatory filings via Issuers’ Portal (X-Issuer).
“As the exchange embraces social distancing as prescribed by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), we have further engaged with the Federal Government on issues of Annual General Meetings, maturing financial instruments, financial reporting, to mention a few and appropriate updates will be provided in due course.
“Thank you for your continued co-operation and together we will pull through this difficult time,” Onyema said.