Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has assured foreign investors of the safety of their investments in the Nigerian capital market.
Mary Uduk, acting director general of SEC, disclosed this at the weekend when representatives of JP Morgan and Stanbic IBTC visited the commission in Abuja.
She assured the visitors that all necessary controls are in place to ensure that the market is dynamic, free, fair and transparent for participants.
Uduk said SEC has embarked on several initiatives in a bid to ensure that investors in the market derive the benefits therein.
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She noted that the implementation of the capital market master plan has led to significant changes in the market. According to her, some of the implemented initiatives are dematerialization of share certificates, recapitalization of capital market operators, establishment of the national investors protection fund, and inauguration of its board, as well as launch of the corporate governance scorecard.
Other welcoming initiatives are 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.
The Ag. DG disclosed that the commission has put in place a robust investor protection machinery with severe sanctions on infractions of securities laws.
“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, adding that SEC has championed zero tolerance on infractions with 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,” she stressed.
On surveillance, Uduk said SEC has mechanisms in place to detect possible suspicious trading/market manipulation activities.
In his remarks, Nick Long, representative of JP Morgan, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Nigerian capital market, adding that it is one of the reasons why it continues to attract international investors.