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SEC seeks partnership with consumer council on investors’ protection

By on March 22, 2011

AS part of strategies to consolidate on its investors’ protection initiatives, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has concluded plans to partner with the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).

According to SEC, the development is expected to pave way for a fair, safe and transparent capital market, “more particularly, in publicising and implementing new complaints management framework”.

A press statement issued by SEC quoted unnamed  “market analysts” as describing the initiative “as an apparent move to further restore investor confidence in the Nigerian Capital Market”.

Speaking at a consumer stakeholder forum tagged “Consumers for fair financial services”, the Director-General of SEC, Arunma Oteh, was quoted as saying the apex capital market regulator in Nigeria shall seek collaboration with the NPC in giving its new complaint handling framework adequate publicity

Specifically, Oteh disclosed that SEC intends to leverage the expertise of both the SEC and the CPC in delivering the desired result of efficiency, speed and cost effectiveness in complaints resolution, which she noted constitutes the roots of investor confidence in the market.

Represented by SEC’s Commissioner in charge of Finance and Administration, Alhaji Sani Stores, Oteh said: “The SEC is resolute in ensuring a fair and safe market where investors are protected”.

She explained that there could be no better time for fair financial services to consumers than now, when the Commission is working round the clock to bring back market confidence, “after the global financial market meltdown, which also affected Nigeria”.

She disclosed that the Commission is currently reviewing the structure for complaints handling mechanism in the Nigerian capital market, with a view to making it more efficient and investor friendly, adding that “On June 2, 2010, the Commission set up a committee to develop a uniformed Complaints Management Framework for the Nigerian Capital Market. The report of the committee, having been accepted, is now a consultation document with the stakeholders”.

Explaining further, she said the consultations commenced with Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and congratulated the NSE, who on March 15, 2011, the World Consumer Day, gave her the opportunity to commission the NSE Call Centre as one step towards boosting investor confidence.

The SEC team, according to her, will soon make public the new Complaints Management Framework and embark on educating the investing public on ‘where to go, what to do and what to expect’ in lodging and following through capital market.

She stressed that investors’ complaints are extremely important, adding that they serve as a source of market intelligence and sometimes, provide direct evidence of market misconduct and may provide a lead to a larger problem in the market.

Oteh said: “Experience has shown that more complaints are resolved and in better time, where parties provide complete documentation and respond to queries sent by the Commission. We firmly believe that the new complaints management framework, when it commences, will hasten the process and achieve a higher resolution rate”.

She also acknowledged the impact of the CPC in almost 20 years of its existence, adding that “No doubt, you have made positive impact through the creation of awareness and enforcement of Consumer Rights’’.

Oteh added: “This year, you have chosen to focus on “Consumers for fair financial services”, and SEC is pleased to collaborate with you in promoting a fair, safe and transparent capital market, more particularly, in publicising and implementing the new complaints management framework”.

Earlier, the Director-General of CPC, Mrs. Ify Umenyi, in her welcome address, acknowledged the efforts of the SEC, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC), at ensuring fair and safe financial service delivery through introduction of policies and regulations.

She commended SEC for initiating “positive reform agenda” aimed at repositioning the nation’s capital market, adding that “Steps such as increased enforcement and regulatory oversight, enhanced complaint management system, institution of legal suits against 260 individuals and corporate entities for alleged share price manipulations, introduction of rules on book building and simplified disclosure for fixed income sold to institutional investors and the review of SEC’s 2003 corporate Governance Code are all laudable initiatives capable of significantly sanitising the capital market for consumers”

The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Senator Jubril Martins Kuye, also commended both SEC and CBN and other relevant organisations and hoped that the forum will provide a veritable platform for stakeholders to deliberate and pass the necessary feedback to the implementing agencies.

He said: “The challenge, however, is that the desired boost in the industrial sub-sector cannot be achieved without a healthy financial sector and a vibrant consumer protection regime. The country’s financial sector must support industries to grow, while the consumer protection policy and law could be tailored to make businesses produce quality products and services in order to remain competitive in global market place”.

Source : Guardian