Uche Usim, Abuja
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has described investor protection as one of its top priorities, assuring of its resolve to protect them in all legitimate transactions at the capital market.
The acting Director-General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk gave the assurance at a meeting with the Association of Corporate Trustees in Abuja, Wednesday.
Uduk, who was represented by acting Executive Commissioner, Operations of the SEC, Mr. Isyaku Tilde, said it is the responsibility of the SEC to ensure that investors are not short-changed in any transactions in the market and therefore urged them to participate in the market to grow it.
Uduk said it is to this end that the Commission is taking steps to reduce transaction costs in a bid to ensure that investors do not bear unnecessary costs.
She said: “We are doing a lot to boost investors’ confidence in our market. But I want to say that both local and foreign investors are very good for the market. For instance, the foreign investors, because they trade their shares all of the time it leads to price discovery as against the local investors that just take a long term view on their investments.
“Investors’ fears can be of two folds, firstly they could be afraid because they feel that capital market operators will mismanage their investments, secondly is looking at the volatility of the market that makes investors skeptical.
“For the first scenario, we have a number of initiatives that we have put in place to boost investors’ confidence. We have the E-Dividend mandate system, the Direct Cash Settlement as well as multiple subscriptions in place. For the second category, investors have to take ownership of their investments. They have to be able to monitor their investments, attend Annual General Meetings as well as read the annual reports sent out to them.
The acting DG said investors are also protected through the National Investors Protection Fund (NIPF) Risk-Based supervision that enables the SEC to supervise the operators to ensure that they do not do what they are not supposed to do. According to her, the Complaints Management Framework enables investors to know where to complain to and how long it takes for such complaints to be resolved. For those of the investors that are averse to risk, they should get their financial advisers to advise them properly on where to invest.
“We also advise retail investors to invest in Collective Investment Schemes and Mutual Funds because those are managed independently by professionals and they are diversified thereby reducing risks. We are committed to protecting investors in the work we do. We will keep working on our rules and the possibility of amending them when the need arises, we want more transparency in the market so that investors will feel comfortable and the market can be better,” Uduk added.
In her remarks, President of the Association, Mrs. Tokunboh Ajayi said members of the association are committed to attracting investors to the market without encumbering them with costs and commended the SEC on its efforts in transaction costs reduction.
“This market is dynamic and that is why as a group we keep on evolving and devising ways to make the market better. We will continue to render our best and ensure our members operate within the confines of the rules and regulations in the market,” she stated.