Nigeria: SEC urges shareholders associations to merge for stronger alliances


WorldStage Newsonline- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday called for mergers among the 125 shareholders associations operating in the Nigerian capital market to form stronger alliances.

Ms Mary Uduk, SEC's Acting Director-General who made the call at the Issuers and Investors' Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiative (IIADRI) annual symposium on Thursday in Lagos, said that they would make them stronger and more effective.

The theme of this first annual symposium was: "AGM Optimization: The Roles of the Secretaries Company, Regulators, Registrars, Auditors, Media, Shareholder Associations and other Stakeholders ''.

Represented by Mrs Maryam Sallau, Uduk said that mergers would make stronger, more influential, effective partnerships and enhance valueholders.

According to her, the merger will be stronger and better associations and help in market growth and development.

Uduk noted that there were 125 associations' associations presently recognized by the commission, noting that more applications for recognition were being processed.

The acting director-general said that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had only 24 recognised investors associations.

"The number of shareholders" associations recognized by the commission is growing and can outnumber the listed companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

"Stronger, more influential, and effective partner shareholder value," said Uduk said.

The associations, she said: "It would be fostering the protection of the interests of the members of the associations.

"Through the associations, they will be provided with platforms to network and exchange ideas and associations through their meetings and capacity development programs."

AGMs or Extraordinary General Meetings (AGMs) or Extraordinary General Meetings.

Uduk spoke on the theme: Enhancing shareholders value through stronger and coordinated shareholder associations: Why and how ?.

The lead speaker, Ms Daisy Ekineh, Chief Executive Officer, DSE Advisory Services Ltd., said that the shareholder associations as currently exist were neither effective nor respected.

Ekineh said that shareholder associations in Nigeria have been taken seriously by stakeholders including public companies.

It is noted that they have been perceived as often as well as they have been perceived to be disruptive rather than disciplined at AGMs.

"There are too many associations, making it difficult for regulators and others to effectively engage with them," she said.

According to Ekineh, there are over 100 registered shareholders with the CAC, according to SEC's records in 2017.

She said that the code of Conduct for Shareholders Associations has to be allowed to mitigate the negative activities of the associations.

"Shareholder associations may only be required to provide governance, if they themselves act responsibly and with integrity.

"Shareholder activism in Nigeria should not be synonymous with confrontation and intimidation but effective commitment," Ekineh.

She urged shareholders to know and understand their companies in order to be efficient.

"Effective shareholder activism complements regulators in investor protection, promotes good corporate governance and could enhance shareholder value," she added.

Earlier, Mr Moses Igbrude, IIADRI Chairman, said that the organization was born out of a passion to enter conflict and engender growth in the Nigerian Stock market through investors and issuers enlightenment on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Igbrude said the association is using mediation, conciliation and negotiation as veritable tools in their set goals and objectives.

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