SEC introduces electronic filing, makes other adjustments
The Securities and Exchange Commission
has issued an advisory expected to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on
capital market operations.
In a circular to capital market
stakeholders on COVID-19, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday, SEC
released a number of market-focused adjustments to be adopted in the
interim in response to the effects of COVID-19.
They include 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
However, fresh applications for registration of capital market operators had been suspended until further notice, SEC stated.
Also, returns would 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
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.
“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 stated.
It also said, “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,” SEC stated.
SEC enjoined all capital market stakeholders to adhere to all recent directives on safety and social distancing.
The commission stated that it was
focused on the following measures, amongst others: ensuring the
continuity of its operations; monitoring market functions and systemic
risks; providing regulatory flexibility and guidance to issuers, trading
platforms, capital market operators and other stakeholders impacted by
COVID-19; and continuation of investor protection efforts and relevant
The spread of the coronavirus worldwide
has created a degree of uncertainty and anxiety as governments and
health experts attempt to control the spread of the virus.
The World Health Organisation had warned
that given Africa’s fragile health systems, the threat posed by
COVID-19 on the continent was considerable.
This has led to various actions taken by the federal and state governments in Nigeria to curb its spread.
Source: Punchng, March 25, 2020