June 11, 2009

Ekineh elected as chairman of IOSCO’s Africa and Middle East regional committee

The Acting  Director_General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Daisy Ekineh, was Wednesday in Tel_Aviv, Israel, elected Chairman of the Africa and Middle East Regional Committee (AMERC) of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

By this election, Ekineh takes over the mantle of leadership from her predecessor in office, Musa Al-Faki, who was re-elected last year during the IOSCO 33rd Annual Conference in Paris, France, for a two year term.

It should be recalled that Al-Faki disengaged his services from the Commission as Director-General on the 8th May, 2009 and Ekineh was appointed to take over by the federal government, in acting capacity.

In a unanimous decision of members at its meeting, chaired by the IOSCO Secretary-General, Mr. Greg Tanzer, the Chief Executive Officer of Tanzania’s Capital Market Securities Authority (CMSA), Dr, Fratnern Mboya, said Nigeria has been providing excellent leadership for the region and “it is only proper to allow Nigeria continue to chair the committee until the election is due in June, 2010” during the 35th IOSCO Annual Conference in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
In her acceptance speech, the new AMERC Chairman said she was indeed humbled by her election and promised to work hard to move the region and indeed the Nigerian capital market to an enviable position.

Her words, “luckily Nigeria has provided good leadership and as a region, served in the Emerging Markets and other committees of IOSCO and that I believe, placed a lot of responsibility on AMERC.

So, we would do whatever we can to move the Africa and indeed the Nigerian market forward. We are determined to do just that and luckily for us, all other member countries are determined to do that”.

Ekineh explained that IOSCO is an international standard setter and promised to look at these standards and pick the ones that are relevant to the Nigerian market, to attract both local and foreign investors.

The AMERC Chairman, who is taking over the mantle of leadership at a time the global financial market is facing a lot of challenges, said one of her major priorities was to find a way to strengthen the regulatory authorities to better regulate the market.

According to her, one of the major issues affecting the global capital market was that of risks that were not given due attention and that is an area IOSCO is looking at; how to identify the risks and mitigate them.

Nigeria, she said, also had the problem of risk that affected the market in the last one year stressing that “we will give focus to risk assessment and risk management”.

Besides, the Commission would also enforce its rules and strengthen its enforcement and investigative capabilities.
This is because, “we need to investigate complaints that arise from the market and if we do not have solid machinery to investigate these complaints, they become a problem to you as regulator. So, we would build capacity in these areas”.

Another area to consider was that of market development. She noted that if the market is not developed, we would not have anything to regulate. So, “we would develop the market, introduce new instruments particularly derivatives that are not too complex for our market. We need to understand the risks of those complex derivatives before they are introduced in our market because we don’t want a repeat of the mistakes of the developed market”.

The AMERC chairman submitted that there was a lot of work to be done but luckily for SEC, the report of the Committee on Capital Market Structure and Processes which the commission has started implementing placed the Nigerian capital market at a vantage position to overcome some of the challenges currently facing the market.

In her report of the Nigerian capital market, she explained that the slide in the prices of equities that started in mid March, 2008 affected the general performance of the market. She said “the low demand for equities as a result of low liquidity and loss of confidence by investors affected the general performance of the market”.

However, the market started to gradually rebound from April, 2009 partly due to a number of factors, including SEC’s determination to implement the accepted recommendations of the report of capital market structure and processes; good dividends and bonuses declared by quoted companies and the return of investors’ confidence in the market.

The Commission she said was vigorously pursuing its mandate in the face of the challenges posed by the market meltdown, by strengthening its regulatory framework; reviewing of its rules and processes and encouraging the introduction of new products and processes.