SEC, NSE want legal firms listed on capital market

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The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Nigerian Stock Exchange say legal firms should consider the option of listing their shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The Director-General, SEC, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, and the NSE’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said this while discussing ‘Creating secondary market for investors’ at a break out session of the annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association.

To this end, Gwarzo encouraged law firms to merge into large firms that would possess the capacity to be listed on the floor of a securities exchange.

He said investing in the Nigerian capital market was what legal practitioners should naturally do.

This submission, therefore, was re-echoed by Onyema in his presentation.

The SEC DG urged legal practitioners to refrain from instituting unnecessary litigations at the instance of their clients involved in enforcement action of the commission.

He added that this would ensure the support of the legal profession to the commission, thereby allowing the commission to perform its statutory functions and adequately protect investors with the aim of continuously developing the Nigerian capital market and the economy.

In the course of discussions, the Managing Director of Goldman Sachs South Africa, Mr. Colin Coleman, observed the high quantum of transaction cost in the Nigerian capital market.

Reacting to this, the DG SEC as well as the CEO of the NSE emphasised that steps had been put in place to ensure a reduction of both the explicit and implicit cost of transactions in the Nigerian capital market.

Gwarzo acknowledged that “both explicit and implicit costs in Nigeria are higher than in peer countries,” stressing that within a short period of time, the market would feel the effect of the reductions.

In a related development, the President of the NSE, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, and a Senior Economic Adviser for Open Society Foundation, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, on Tuesday said that Nigeria needed to run an open economy in order to thrive.

They both spoke as panellists during a plenary session with a sub theme, ‘The Great Debate: We Need Help to Grow’ at the 2017 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Other panellists at the session were the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, and a former Georgia’s Prime Minister, Mr. Nika Gilauri.

Ezekwesili said, “It is not possible to completely close an economy to the degree it cannot interact with other countries in the world. You cannot discuss openness with an ideology; it is better to use an evidence-based approach.

“When the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan was announced by this administration, I was of the opinion that you could not create an economic reform plan that would not totally overhaul the system and the sectors we have in place.

Ezekwesili said in line with the theme of the conference, the legal profession was bound to significantly help the country to grow the economy.

 Aig-Imoukhuede said that a closed economy would not thrive in a country like Nigeria, noting that internal growth was essential for the success of the economy.

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