Capital market operators, regulators urged to tackle infractions, unclaimed dividends

 Capital market operators and regulators have been urged to tackle market infractions , insider trading and deluge of unclaimed dividends to boost investors’ confidence.

Segun Ajibola, Professor of Economics, Babcock University and immediate past President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, gave the advice at the inauguration of a new governing council for the Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, which held in Lagos, also featured investiture of ICMR fellows and induction of associates.

Ajibola said that market infractions – such as market manipulations –  insider trading and unclaimed dividends could hardly happen if operators and regulators would fully live up to their responsibilities.

He said that ICMR members must maintain spotless registers of shareholders by devising means of updating the registers regularly to tackle identity management problems.

Ajibola, who spoke on the topic: “Service with Integrity – A Promise that Must be Kept”, said that ICMR must maintain accurate information of shareholders.

He added that they should resolve ownership matters that might arise in the event of death, and provide a way to deal with unclaimed dividends.

“These are onerous tasks in the midst of the identity management problems the country is still grappling with,’’Ajibola said.

According to him,  the composition of investors and shareholders in the Nigerian capital market whose shares members of ICMR are out to protect, are mostly middle aged and retired people.

Ajibola said that ICMR and other regulatory institutions should provide maximum protection for investors and their shares.

According to him, ICMR should remain committed to offering services with integrity to their numerous stakeholders.

“It will be disastrous to every stakeholder if the operators compromise integrity in their dealings.

“Nigerian capital market is still largely underdeveloped compared with many countries with similar level of economic development.

“All hands must be on deck to drive the capital market and sustain the growing level of confidence in the market by the public,’’Ajibola said.

He said that if operators and regulators would play their roles as catalysts, the synergy between the capital and money markets would boost financial inclusion.

Ajibola said that the synergy would help in cultivating savings habits and promoting investment culture in the country.

Earlier, Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, President, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and Chairman of the event, hailed ICMR for its contributions to the development of the capital market.

Ogunbanjo said that the ongoing NSE demutualisation, when completed, would further enhance the capital market by promoting corporate governance.

He added that it would result in transparency  and attract strategic partners, investors and good quality issuers.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Seyi Owoturo, the new ICMR President and Chairman of Council, praised Mr Bayo Olugbemi, the outgoing President, for immense contributions to the institute’s growth.

Owoturo said that the effects of  technology in the financial industry could not be downplayed.

He said that the registrar’s business had been influenced by the rise in financial technology.

“The world is going digital, and everyday there is a technological invention designed to solve a problem and ease our lives as humans.

“With the integration of technology into the finance industry, we stand the chance to improve the quality of service we provide for our clients and their shareholders,” he said.

NAN reports that Ms Mary Uduk, Acting Director-General, NSE; Mr Oscar Onyema, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, and Mr Bola Onadele, Managing Director, FMDQ, were awarded honourary fellows at the event. (NAN)

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