SEC adjusts operations, introduces e-filing, other measures

Following the social distancing and efforts of the federal and state governments, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued an advisory to quoted companies and operators in the Nigerian Capital market to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

This was disclosed in a circular issued by the apex regulator to operators and seen by Nairametrics. In the document, SEC stated a number of market-focused adjustments to be adopted in the interim in response to the effects of COVID-19.

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Details of the adjustments: Some of them are filing and processing of applications electronically; extension of deadline on 2019 annual reports and Q1 2020 reports; postponement of the Q1 capital market committee meeting earlier scheduled for April 23, 2020.

The commission stated that applications should be filed electronically while pending applications and requests by the capital market operators for update of information would be processed via

New operators’ applications: Fresh applications for registration of capital market operators had been suspended until further notice.

Filling of returns: Returns are expected to be filed electronically while the commission had approved a 60-day extension, in the first instance, for public companies and capital market operators to file their 2019 annual reports and Q1 2020 reports.

By the advisory, public companies are to take appropriate precautionary measures as recommended by the federal and state governments as well as the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure the safety of shareholders and participants at annual general meetings/extra-ordinary general meetings and other meetings that may be held during the prevalence of the pandemic.

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The circular read: “The first Capital Market Committee meeting for the year scheduled to hold on April 23, 2020, and all other meetings have been postponed indefinitely.

“It is important to note that the foregoing guidelines are not exhaustive, but rather represent an outline of immediate actions the commission considers necessary to sustain the actualisation of its regulatory mandate and maintain the integrity of the Nigerian capital market during this challenging period.

“Accordingly, the commission will continue to issue updates to market stakeholders as appropriate. The commission will also continue to closely coordinate with other financial regulators and governmental authorities.”

In all, the market apex regulator tasked all stakeholders to adhere to all recent directives on safety and social distancing. It added that it is determined to ensure the continuity of its operations; monitoring market functions and systemic risks; providing regulatory flexibility and guidance to issuers and investors confidence.

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