SEC reiterates commitment to clamp down on illegal capital market operators


By Kayode Tokede

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday vowed to clamp down on illegal capital market operators, especially operators of Ponzi Schemes.

The Director-General, SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, read the riot act to capital market operators at the second post-Capital Market Committee (CMC) virtual news conference.

Yuguda said the commission would remain committed to zero tolerance for market infractions.

He said the commission would continue with the campaign against illegal operators in the capital market, especially Ponzi Schemes.

“SEC has adopted multi-level engagements with media platforms and regulators of publicity agencies in order to curb the reach and activities of these illegal operators.

“While we continue our activities to resolve the complaints that have been forwarded to the commission through the official channels,” he said.

He added that it was important to reiterate to the investing public to be wary of unscrupulous schemes that promised unrealistic returns on investment.

“We will like to use this opportunity to reiterate our commitment towards zero tolerance for market infractions.

“We urge every capital market operator to operate within the market functions approved for it by the commission.

“The commission will not hesitate to deal decisively with any operator who carries out any activity outside the function(s) approved for it by the commission,” he said.

Yuguda said, “no capital market can grow without discipline and adherence to laid down rules and regulations.”

He noted that Ponzi Schemes were a big problem for the economy and the country in general.

“Every month, everyday, many of our citizens lost huge monies to Ponzi Scheme operators and the commission has adopted a variety of measures,” he said.

According to him, the measures include putting up the list of the authorised operators on SEC’s website so that interested investors will to confirm that the scheme they intend to invest in is through a registered operator.

“But unfortunately, many of these ponzi scheme operators, once they give mouth watery promises and entice many gullible investors, in the end monies are lost and these investors start flocking to our offices to complain.

“We have engaged a number of regulators and a number of media platforms to ensure that the message is actually delivered to the public that any promised return that looks so generous should actually be suspicious.

“It is a continuous fight, we are not resting on our oars in this. These Ponzi Schemes are truly a cancer in our society and every hand must be on deck to fight this cancer,” Yuguda said.

Speaking on the outcome of the CMC, he said the commission had registered two Fintech capital market operators, which included a Digital Fund Portfolio Manager and a Digital Sub-broker.

He added that the commission was looking forward to registering more Fintech players in the market.

Yuguda noted that the commission had approved some derivative contracts, developed the regulatory framework for derivatives trading as well as rules on Interoperability of Central Securities Depositories in Nigeria.

Shareholders approve FTN Cocoa directors to raise N1.4billion capital.

The shareholders of FTN Cocoa Processors Plc have given their consent to a proposed plan by the directors of the company to raise a capital of up to N1.4 billion, subject to regulatory approval. This is part of the resolutions reached during the recently concluded Extra-Ordinary General Meeting of the company.

Affirming this, a notice signed by one of the directors of the company, Mr Akin Laoye, and made available on the website of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) read: “Subject to obtaining the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities, the Board of directors of the Company (the “Board”) be and is hereby authorized to raise capital of up to N1.4billion, on such terms and conditions and at such time, as the Board may deem fit or determine (‘the Capital Raise’).”

According to the disclosure, the capital is to be raised through the combinations of different strategic means, such as; private placement, rights issue, public offering etc. Subject to regulatory approval, the notice stated that;the Board will offer shares to its shareholders via a rights issue or any other method approved by the relevant regulatory authorities, in compliance with CAMA 2020.

The Board will apply amounts outstanding under any convertible loan, shareholder loan or other loan facility due to any person, from the Company, as may be agreed between the person and the Company, towards payment for any shares to be subscribed for and allotted to such person under the rights issue or any other method approved by the relevant regulatory authorities for the offer to the shareholders.

In a bid to liquidate some of its debt to OH Origins Global Commodities Inc., the firm stated that it will allot shares outstanding from the Capital Raise to the latter on a basis of private placement / debt to equity conversion. The deal will be executed at a price not below the one offered to the shareholders and on such terms and conditions approved by the Board.

Perhaps the entire capital is not raised by the shareholders and by OH Origins, the Board is at liberty to raise the outstanding capital by way of public offering or any other method(s) or combination of methods such as; issuance of shares, convertible or non-convertible securities, loan notes etc.

The Board was also charged to exercise its legitimate powers in carrying out actions that will bring the plans into fruition, including but not limited to hiring professional advisers, execute agreements, deeds, notices and other transaction documents, among others.