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SEC leverages Fintech solution to ease market operation, regulation

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Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has opted to leverage various opportunities available in the Financial Technology [Fintech] space to ensure proper operation and regulation of the capital market.

Recall that the Commission recently launched the Fintech Roadmap for the Nigerian Capital Market, where a dedicated committee is working with it and other key stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the roadmap.

Acting Director-General, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, who dropped the hint weekend, while speaking to journalists in Abuja, said the apex regulator has employed various means to ensure that the market is able to operate remotely, even as it ensures that investors are able to get the benefit of their investments at this critical time when they need them.

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“No one saw this coming, but here it is with us. We had to quickly activate our Business Continuity Plans to ensure that there is no gap in regulation. So most of us are leveraging technology, and staff are working remotely; we are interacting with market operators who are also working remotely. 

“Our staff are equipped to be able to continue to work remotely and support the market in every area. We have also issued circulars to capital market operators guiding them on how we expect that the market remains open and continues to function seamlessly.

“You are aware that many companies have been able to hold virtual AGMs, and have also paid out dividends to their shareholders in spite of the lockdown. This, they have been able to do with the aid of technology,” Uduk stated.

She stressed that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the market and everything else, but added that with the deployment of technology the market is able to remain open and functional.

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She said: “In the past, we talked a lot about FinTech or Financial Technology and how it has disrupted the market, but now it’s Covid-19 that has so disrupted the market, disrupted everything the way it is, and therefore, as human beings, we have to adapt to be able to ensure that our lives continue and not allow Covid-19 to put our lives on hold. Therefore, we are leveraging technology to be able to continue to function.

Initially, people were afraid of technology but right now it has become a saving grace given the Covid-19.”

Uduk disclosed that there are recent developments and opportunities in the Fintech space, adding that the Commission is leveraging these opportunities. 

“We are adopting technology in our regulatory and operational activities and have established a division dedicated to Fintech and Innovation. We are engaging and guiding Fintech start-ups that seek to operate in the Nigerian capital market, while we encourage those we regulate to embrace Fintech, not as competitors, but as enablers to their existing operations and processes. 

“We are finalising some existing regulations in the areas of crowdfunding and other Fintech-based trading and investment platforms.  We are aware that Fintech provides an opportunity to bring efficiency into our activities, introduce new products and new platforms as well as supporting the development of technology start-ups,” she added.

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