The Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, recently launched a Whistle Blowing Portal called X-Whistle.
The X- Whistle is meant to expose information that is harmful to the growth of the stock market.
According to the Exchange, the NSE X-Whistle is a programme that empowers a whistle blower (an employee, an investor, a compliance officer, an issuer, a stockbroker or any member of the public) to report possible violations of the rules and regulations of the Exchange, the securities law and fraud related activity within the market.
It is an important aspect of the NSE’s investor protection strategy designed to encourage those with information about misconduct to report it and to provide all stakeholders with the means of expressing their concerns in a responsible and effective manner without being hurt. Speaking with Vanguard Investors Forum, some shareholders speak on what it means to them and how they think it is going to work among other related issues. Excerpt:
By WILLIAM JIMOH
Binuyo Safara, member, Global Shareholders Association of Nigeria:
The introduction of the whistle blowing portal by the NSE is long overdue because somebody like me has been waiting for it. This is a policy that will favour every enlightened shareholders. It is another good step toward development of the Nigerian capital market since it is not necessary that you begin to look for the address of your companies before you can make your mind known to them or report fraud being perpetrated by the company to the regulator.
I witnessed the launch of the programme at the NSE and I understand what it is all about.
I want to appeal to the NSE to make sure that as they have launched the programme in Lagos, they should also take the good news to other states of the federation because it will make people to be aware of what is happening in the market and how they can go about solving issues regarding their investments in the capital market.
Yekini Adisa, Governor, Focus Shareholders Association of Nigeria:
X- whistle as introduced by the NSE means that when we discover that certain things are wrong with any company, or when we see that the market is going downward, we should raise alarm by telling the authority, regulators and the managers what they need to watch out for so that we do not go back to where we found ourselves six years ago.
On whether the shareholders are currently making use of the platform as expected, I will say not really, but we believe that gradually we will get the understanding and make the best use of it. But I am very sure that to get the understanding, it will not take time since the leaders of various shareholders’ associations are aware of its existence.
In our association, we know what is going on and we are not ignorant of this too and since we already have time when we interact with the shareholders on issues like this, spreading the message will be accelerated so that we will achieve the objective of the initiative within the shortest possible time.
As an individual, I have not had any cause to make use of the X-Whistle platform since it was launched because currently, everything is going on smoothly and the market has been improving. One very important benefit shareholders will derive from this is that, it is going to reduce the number of times we visit the company secretaries of our companies whenever we have issues that needed to be clarified.
This is because previously, we always go to the company secretaries to talk with them on some issues and they will explain to us the whole matter. In order words, we use to visit companies where we have shareholdings whenever we need clarification on issue and if the explanation we get from them is not positive, we advise them and they do consider our advice.
For instance, recently we visited a particular company’s secretary because they have not held Annual General Meeting for long, and she told us their plans and what the problems were, after which we gave our advice, though they have not held a meeting yet, but we understand their case and we look forward to them calling a meeting very soon.
On a last note , what X-Whistle means to shareholders is that henceforth, we do not need to go personally to companies to pass information about something wrong, rather we just blow the whistle (via writing ) and they will know that we are talking to them and the regulators will also know how to drive the message home.