Nigeria Stock Exchange
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday unveiled a new set of rules that would enable it reposition the capital market.

The apex regulatory body of the Nigerian Stock Exchange said in Abuja that the legislation, comprising 23 new rules and eight amendments, would also help to ensure transparency and efficiency of the Nigerian capital market.

It also said that the move was in pursuance to Section 313 sub-section (1) of the Investment and Securities Act, which empowered the commission to use regulatory tools such as registration, monitoring, investigation and enforcement mechanism.

The Director-General of the commission, Ms Arunma Oteh, while unveiling the new rules, said that the move became imperative due to the crisis that rocked the capital market in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008.

This, she noted, made the commission to, in September 2008, constitute committees to reposition the market for greater efficiency and international competiveness.

She argued that the dynamic nature of the capital market called for rules and regulations to be changed regularly to meet the challenges arising from such market dynamism.

The high point of the new rule is the provision that allows the commission to approve the appointment of executive directors of market operators. This, she said, was to ensure that only 'fit and proper persons run the affairs of market institutions.'

Another new rule on the validity of accounts submitted to the commission required that it should not be more that nine months for corporate bodies and not more than 12 months for government and supranational bodies.

One of the new rules also stated that henceforth, underwriting of issues in the market was no longer mandatory, adding, however, that where an issue was underwritten, the underwriting commitment by a single underwriter would not be more than three times its shareholders fund for equity offering and not more than four times for fixed income securities.

The commission also made a new rule for listing of shares after allotment saying, 'Issuers are now required to list their securities not more than 30 days after allotment.'

New rules were also made for the regulation of corporate bonds and money market funds.

In furtherance of the anti- competition powers of the commission under Section 128 of the ISA, which empowers it to order a breakup of a company where its business practices are capable of restraining competition or creating a monopoly, the commission issued a new rule providing details of those practices that would cause a restraint on competition.