‘SEC Moves To Address Listed Firms’ Concerns

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To ensure that a decision to address timely reporting is taken, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is consulting widely and studying practices in other jurisdictions. The commission made this known in a notice obtained from its website.

The SEC management was reacting to a recent media publication tagged ‘NECA flays sanctions on quoted companies by SEC’. The Commission said it was also considering rules on accelerated filing, which will give quoted companies  the options of either retaining the current Q4 filing system as provided in the SEC Rules or filing their audited annual accounts latest by the second week of February of the next year, in order to forgo the requirement of filling Q4 unaudited accounts.

The Commission said it had also reduced the burden of reporting on corporate governance with the introduction of corporate governance scorecard. “Quoted companies, with effect from 2017, will now be required to fill the SEC scorecard on corporate governance once a year as against the half-yearly returns on corporate governance currently being filed.

“While the Commission engages stakeholders and looks at ways to address the issue of quarterly filings, it cannot abdicate its duty of applying existing rules and regulations. Filing Q4 financial statements by public companies is mandatory under the SEC Rules as currently provided for.

Without an amendment of the Rules, the Commission would continue to apply these Rules, while consulting with relevant stakeholders on necessary amendments.

“It is rather unfortunate that in the middle of this consultative process, the Director General of NECA has taken this issue to the public space in newspaper interviews and letters to the Ministry of Finance and the Presidency, misrepresenting the facts of the matter,” SEC said.

The Commission noted that as the apex regulatory authority of the Nigerian capital market, SEC would continue to live up to its responsibility of investor protection by sustaining market fairness and integrity. “Sometimes this may entail applying strict sanctions as provided in the law against erring participants. In our considered opinion, maintaining a posture of zero tolerance has presented a credible deterrence that is already improving compliance levels across our market and reducing the number of infractions.

It is noteworthy that the fines and penalties applied by the Commission have led to a massive improvement in filing compliance by quoted companies from less than 25 per cent in December 2011 to over 85 per cent as at September 30, 2016,” the regulator noted.

Source: New Telegraph

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