By Dipo Olowookere
The newly created Securities Issuers Forum (SIF) has the potential to enhance Nigeria’s economic growth, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, has said.
Mr Yuguda made this disclosure on Wednesday during the virtual inauguration of the platform formed in collaboration with the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA).
He explained that the forum can contribute to Nigeria’s economic development because it will allow issuers to engage the commission in order to encourage more listings, improve the contribution of issuers to the development of the capital market as key stakeholders, deepen and broaden the market.
According to him, he sees a situation where the platform will act as a bridge between the SEC and issuers of securities, noting that this has been tested in European and American markets.
The SEC chief said with SIF, the agency will be better positioned to engage issuers on capital raising opportunities to facilitate increased participation in the capital market, development of new products to meet funding needs and addressing issues relating to compliance with regulatory requirements.
“The idea of a forum for issuers of securities is not novel as such fora exist in other parts of the world to cater to the interests of issuers of securities in the capital market.
“In Europe, the European Issuers acts as the voice of issuers of securities representing over 8,000 companies and national associations of issuers of securities.
“In the United States of America and South Africa, the American Securities Association and the Debt Issuers Association respectively serve as the associations for issuers of securities,” he stated.
“In Nigeria, NECA, the umbrella body for over 3,000 members seeks to protect interests and rights of businesses and ultimately influence policymaking.
“By encouraging the establishment of the SIF in collaboration with NECA, the SEC hopes to bridge the gap that exists between the expectations of issuers and the requirements of the regulator,” Mr Yuguda added.
“While forums for issuers are not very common in the African region, they have proven to be veritable tools for capital market advancement in the UK, Europe and Asia. The inauguration of SIF today thus marks an important move by Nigeria to reap the benefits associated with its establishment,” the capital market expert disclosed.
The SEC boss stated that the objectives of issuers forums among others are to maintain regular contact with the regulator and policymakers: advise the regulator and policymakers on regulations affecting companies/issuers: conduct research, organize conferences, roundtable discussions and other events for the benefit of members and promote sound corporate governance and ethical conduct among members.
Other objectives of the forum he said, are to promote healthy competitiveness among members: maintain an enabling business environment by monitoring issues of direct relevance to members and protect the interest of members and present their views at various fora.
“The commission had encouraged the creation of associations and trade groups for other capital market stakeholders such as shareholders and capital market operators. Therefore, SIF is expected to function seamlessly and attract members in line with precedence already established.
“The presentations which will be made today will reiterate further the important role which SIF will play in the Nigerian capital market and the resultant responsibility placed on members to ensure that the forum lives up to its expectation,” he noted.
In his remarks, DG of NECA, Mr Timothy Olawale, expressed appreciation to the SEC on the initiative of inaugurating the forum, saying that the event is important to the business community especially coming during the current economic constraints being faced globally.
He said regulators are expected to be business facilitators and expressed excitement that the SEC was working hard at facilitating the ease of doing business as well as bridge the gaps and aid companies to meet expectations of compliance.
“This Forum is a good one by the SEC as it will help us to do what is needful and right and we are very excited about it. It is commendable and we recommend this form of partnership to others.
“The forum will serve as a medium of regular engagement between SEC and issuers of securities in order to address challenges, improve the business environment and enhance the contribution of the capital market to the growth of the Nigerian economy. We might not achieve all we set out to do at once, but gradually we will get there,” he stated.