April 16, 2021

SEC: Capital Market Operators get April 30 deadline to renew licences

Investors kick as FG plans take-over of N158bn unclaimed dividend

…SEC, CBN in discussing on Cryptocurrency

By Obas Esiedesa

THE Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has given Capital Market Operators, CMO, April 30, 2021, as deadline to renew their operation  licences.

Director General of SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda who briefed journalists on the outcome of the first quarter Capital Market Committee meeting held virtually on Thursday, said licence renewals will now be periodical.

He explained that the “rationale for this is to ensure that operators in the market are fit and proper at all times and to strengthen the supervision and monitoring activities of the Commission. The renewal process is electronic and the deadline for 2021 renewal is 30th April, 2021”.

Speaking on the controversy over restriction placed on trading in digital currencies and other digital assets, the DG said the lack of access to commercial banking accounts as a result of ban imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria means the market no longer exists.

According to him, “The Commission recognizes the impact of FinTechs on capital market activities, and wishes to assure the public that we remain accommodative of this development. We shall continue to engage players and support them to cooperate lawfully. Our aim is to ensure the delivery of safe products and services without stifling innovation, I therefore encourage FinTech firms to approach the Commission for due registration and desist from operating illegally”.

Giving details during questions and answers, he said: “In the area of cryto assets, you know that with the recent prohibition by the CBN of access to Nigerian banking accounts by the crypto exchanges that market has been disrupted.

“The truth of the matter is that while the SEC has issued guidelines in September 2020 aimed at regulating this market, for now, for all intent and purposes because these exchanges do not have access to commercial banking accounts in Nigeria, the market now does not exist.

“We are in discussion with the CBN towards better understanding and better regulations for this market. We would be able to come back at some point later to tell of the result of our engagement but because of the lack access to commercial banking accounts, we have to suspend our circular of September 2020.

“The implementation of that circular is suspended until these operators are able to have access to Nigerian banking accounts”, he added.

Yugida therefore advised all registered CMOs  to “refrain from providing any form of support to unregistered entities operating unlawfully within our market, as such action would not be condoned. Furthermore, we urge CMOs to improve on their level of compliance, timeliness and correctness of disclosures and other filings made to the Commission”.

He disclosed that at April 8, 2021, there were still 4,012,311 accounts with incomplete know your customers, KYC, information, reminding CMOs to update their KYC information.

“This exercise is critical to deepening the participation of retail investors and we direct all CMOs to accord it the highest level of priority”, he added.

He also stated that the Nigerian Stock Exchange has concluded the Demutualization process.

“As a result of this, the Organization would now be known as the Nigeria Exchange, NGX, Group Plc. While NGX has informed us that a formal launch of the Group would be made at the end of April, we used the platform of the meeting to congratulate the new management of the Group.  The Shares of NGX Plc have also been admitted on the NASD platform for trading.

“As part of measures to support the development of the commodities ecosystem, the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) revalidated its 59.9% holding in the Nigerian Commodities Exchange (NCX) to ensure its appropriate positioning for effectiveness. This addressed the funding problem plaguing the NCX and several engagements are ongoing with relevant authorities to promote trading on the Exchange”.

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