ISB provides more investment opportunities for investors, says SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that the Investments and Securities Bill 2023, recently passed by the National Assembly is geared to improve the capital market and provide more opportunities for investors.

Chief Economist (SEC) Dr. Okey Umeano stated this in an interview in Abuja on Thursday.

He said the ISB 2023 has updated the powers of the SEC as well as made provisions to encourage new products in the capital market as well as encourage development of the commodities ecosystem among others.

He said: “The ISB became necessary because the 2007 Investments and Securities Act became outdated. This is a dynamic market; the market changes every day. It got to a point the Act was no longer sufficient to cover some of the new things happening in the market. For instance, we have new products that were not there when that Act was put in place. We have new actors in the market; you can see how Fintech is permeating the market. These things were not there in 2007 when that Act was passed.

“This ISB is supposed to accommodate these new operators, these new instruments and new happenings in the market. The Act is now more up to date and in line with present happenings in Nigeria and the global level. This Act also protects the investors more because we have made certain provisions in that Act that strengthens the SEC to ensure that they are better able to carry out their investor protection activities.”

Umeano disclosed that the new Bill has amended some of the provisions around Ponzi schemes, illegal fund managers, and certain unwholesome practice in the market to ensure that these practices no longer happen.

“This bill is for everyone, not just investors. It is also to encourage issuers to be more active in the market. It also provides better opportunities for operators, it is a bill that works for everyone. Yes, this bill has a lot of differences, there are many things we have updated for instance we have updated the powers of the SEC to cover the new product and new areas,” he added..

He emphasized that the ISB also has provisions that encourages the commodity ecosystem which is a viable means of diversifying the nation’s economy away from crude oil especially given the various commodities available in the country.

“Nigeria is a commodity driven economy, we have oil, we have coal, and we have other minerals. We are blessed with agricultural production; we are able to make agricultural products in very large quantities. In fact, Agriculture employs the larger number of working population of the country. Yet before now, we did not have organized commodity market, to aid this Agriculture.

“Successive government especially this present government have spent a lot of money to support Agriculture but then we a market. When you have a commodity market, it helps price discovery, it helps financing for things like agriculture and that is what we have done in this bill. The ISB has strengthened the capital market to be able to drive the commodities trading ecosystem. We have things around ware house receipts, collateral management, setting up commodities exchanges, other players in the commodity market among others,” he stated.

Umeano disclosed that the Bill also tries to align the capital market with the pension industry by providing that the DG of the PenCom will become a board member of the SEC.

This he said will ensure close relationship and will also help to attract more of the pensioner’s assets into the cattle market, which will also help in capital formation and aid economic development.

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