Setting Capital Market Agenda For New Leadership In SEC

The federal government as part of repositioning the Nigerian capital market, announced a new board for the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) that include market technocrats, professionals, and stockbrokers who have, over the years, contributed to the capital market growth in the country.

The list include: chairman, Mr. Mairiga Katuka; new director-general,, SEC, Mr. Emomotimi Agama who replaced Mr. Lamido Yuguda; Frana Chukwuogor, executive commissioner (Legal and Enforcement); and Mr. Bola Ajomale, executive commissioner (Operations).

Others are: Mrs. Samiya Usman, executive commissioner (Corporate Services); Mr. Lekan Belo, non-executive commissioner and Mr. Kasimu Garba Kurfi, non-executive commissioner.

Task Before The New Board
The new board of SEC is coming in a year the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced a new capital base for banks operating in the country.
On March 28, 2024, a momentous event unfolded in the banking sector when the apex banking regulating body issued a directive to financially reshape the domestic money banks (DMBs) theatre of competition.

In a direct memo, the regulator revised the capitalization requirements, setting new benchmarks for banks with international operations (N500 billion), national licenses (N200 billion), and regional licenses (N50 billion).

This directive, a crucial step towards a stronger banking sector, initiated a time-sensitive two-year journey that will start on April 01, 2024, and end on March 31, 2026.
SEC in 2004, played a critical role in the banking sector recapitalisation reform as the key element of the reform was a prescribed minimum capital base of N25 billion for each bank.

For effective regulation of the market, the new board at SEC is expected to apply various modern-day regulatory/supervisory tools, monitoring/inspection, investigation, enforcement and enforcing rule making for effective exercise.

Also, under Yuguda, the SEC successfully launched a new e-Dividend Mandate Management System (eDMMS), making it easier for investors to mandate their accounts for electronic dividends. The link to the portal can be found on the SEC’s website. Despite many efforts, the unclaimed dividend has failed to drop, creating room for mixed sentiments.

The current board at SEC will need to effectively update market stakeholders on the state of unclaimed dividends in the capital market, and how the government is utilizing it to grow the economy.
Other key issues are: investors’ education, passage of the Investments and Securities Bill 2024 and the implementation of the Revised Capital Market Master Plan (RCMMP) remains ongoing, Identity Management, establishing a regulatory framework for the digital asset space, commodities trading ecosystem, among other task confronting the capital market.

Stakeholders’ Optimism
The capital market stakeholders commended President Bola Tinubu for the appointment of Dr Emomotimi Agama as the director-general designate for the Securities and Exchange Commission.
President Capital Market Academics of Nigeria, Prof. Uche Uwaleke said, Agama had been in the commission for over 20 years, urging him to continue from where the present SEC DG stopped. He said that implementation of the Nigerian capital market Masterplan must be paramount in his agenda.

The managing director of Arthur Steven Asset Management Limited, Mr. Olatunde Amolegbe said that the appointment was well thought through and appropriate for the enhanced growth and development of the capital market.

“Most of them are well grounded capital market professionals with decades of experience under their belt both locally and internationally. Agama has been a regular in the Nigerian capital market for an upward of 25 years or maybe more as far as I know,” he said.

On agenda for the new team, Amolegbe enjoined the new team to continue with the implementation of the capital market masterplan. He also urged them to develop the nation’s commodities exchanges to fill the gap of trading in locally sourced soft commodities such as Oil & Gas and Agricultural products.

Amolegbe added that the new team should ensure that the regulatory-induced banking recapitalisation is conducted in an efficient and orderly manner, saying that the medium-term goal will be to position the capital market to facilitate the $1 trillion economy goal of the federal government will be key.

The former secretary general of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria(ISAN), Adebayo Adeleke lamented that a lot of issues and complaints that need urgent regulatory attention are being delayed unnecessarily, urging the new board to focus more on investor protection to boost confidence in the market.

Adeleke urged the SEC to urgently appoint investors/shareholders’ representatives on the Capital Market Committee (CMC), adding that it is incomprehensible for Capital market decisions to be made in the absence of investors who are the owners of the capital.

Agama Right For SEC DG?
Before the appointment, Agama served as managing director at the Nigerian Capital Market Institute (NCMI) a subsidiary of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Agama brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the SEC, having served in various capacities including head of Registration Exchanges and Market Infrastructure, and head of Public Offerings where he oversaw fundraising activities for numerous companies.
He has also served as the special assistant to the commission’s executive commissioner operations for eight years. During this time, Agama advised on issues relating to securities and investment services, fixed income securities, collective investment services, financial standards and corporate governance.
Emomotimi Agama is a ranking member of the Rules Committee and a member of the SEC committee on the adoption of IFRS in Nigeria and the SEC arrow head for the introduction of Derivatives trading in the Nigerian Capital Market.
Agama is a Chartered Management Accountant, Economist, Investment Analyst, A Chartered Stock Broker and a Risk Manager. Prior to joining the SEC was at various times with the University of Benin and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Agama is a Fellow of the IFC-Milken Institute Capital Markets Program. He is a graduate of Rivers State University where he got his first degree. He also obtained a doctorate degree in Economics from Nile University.

Equities Performance Following Agama Resumption
Following the resumption of Agama as the DG of SEC on May 2, 2024, the Nigerian equities market last week returned back to positive position after six consecutive weeks of bear dominance on the local bourse.
Accordingly, the All-Share Index advanced by 1.46 per cent week-on-week (W-o-W) to close at 99,587.25 points. Also, investors gained N812 billion W-o-W to close at N56.323 trillion.


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