Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: SEC Registration Exercise Reduces Operators' Cost Burden

Operators in the Nigerian capital market saved about N20 million in the just concluded registration exercise of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, in Lagos.

The amount is from cost that would have been incurred by the operators that participated in the registration exercise in Lagos, comprising about 125 firms and 304 sponsored individuals. The amount would have been cost of transportation, accommodation and other logistics, that they would have incurred had the Commission conducted the registration exercise in Abuja.

Registration of operators, which is one of the regulatory tools of SEC is usually carried out at the Commission's headquarters in Abuja.

The choice of Lagos, according to SEC, is to ensure that only capital market operators - both individuals and firms - who are considered fit and proper, get the approval of the Commission to operate in the securities market.

A statement by Yakubu Olaleye, Head, Media, SEC, for the first time in recent times and first time over the last 18 months, the meeting was held between Wednesday and Friday in Lagos, during which over 250 operators were interviewed.

The operators commended SEC, saying that the initiative to hold the registration meeting in Lagos is really a novel and helpful one to them.

The operators that attended the meeting said it was cost saving for them, while they described the meeting as friendly, engaging and conducted in a more relaxed environment without causing major disruption in their businesses.

Mr. Bisi Oni, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FBN Securities Limited, said his firm was able to save about N1.3 million on a single day alone, being cost that would have been incurred if it was to travel to Abuja along with its staff participating in the exercise.

"This development is a great relief to us. On Thursday alone, we were able to save over N1.3 million that we would have incurred if it was in Abuja. Also, while having it done in Lagos, we were still able to coordinate our businesses with little or no disruption. This is very encouraging and we want the commission to continue like this, especially now that our incomes are going down," Oni said.

He added that the decision to hold the exercise in Lagos helped the operators save cost and time, saying, "Apart from cost savings, it has also saved us time. The cost of going to Abuja is high with the attendant hotel accommodation costs. Even if we were to go early in the morning to come back later in the day, there is cost of rushing to the airports, both in Lagos and Abuja."

Another operator, Prince Lawrence Onyiuke, CEO of Arthur Steven, an asset management company said the new management in SEC has shown wonderful pragmatism in handling this registration issues which ought to have been done several months back and we are very satisfied.

He said, "Things like these are what build confidence in the market as new companies would start doing business while others with lesser number of sponsored individuals will have the required number as specified by the regulation".

"I am really impressed and it has also shown that the new management knows what should be done to improve the market and they have just started doing them. I am not surprise because the acting Director General is a stockbroker who knows where the shoe pinches."

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