The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that the non-interest capital market has the prospect of attracting a large pool of untapped investor base who have apathy to conventional instruments, to participate in capital market as well as the existing investors who seek to diversify their portfolio.
Director-general of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, stated this at a joint IFSB/SEC Nigeria virtual seminar on investor protection and transparency in islamic capital markets, according to a statement by SEC.
Yuguda said the level of activity in non-interest (Islamic) capital market that is currently being witnessed in Nigeria affirms the overwhelming acceptance of NICM products by the investing public.
He stated that recently, the market witnessed the entrance of institutions offering Islamic capital market services/products and witnessed the issuances of FGN into the Sukuk market with latest issuance of FGN SUKUK oversubscribed by over 400 per cent.
He stressed that the development buttresses the need to enhance the SEC’s investor protection mechanism in order to ensure transparency in the market.
The SEC DG noted that investor protection is the principal plank of regulation and transparency, a building block that enhances the growth of the capital market, adding that the knowledge gap that often exists between the market Players and investors demand for more transparency, and the risks faced by investors require reasonable level of protection by the regulator in order to build confidence and trust in the market.
According to him, “Capital markets all over the world thrive on trust, it is believed that enhancement of investor protection and increased transparency will have a multiplier effect on investments and sustainable growth of the economy.
With respect to NICM, he said the provision of two levels of shariah review and certification is meant to further serve as added measure towards investor protection. This is coupled with the requirement for continuous review\certification of the shariah expert throughout the tenor of the transaction.
He said non-interest financial activities are developing exponentially across all sectors of the Nigerian financial system. “We expect that the market will soon witness substantial investment from the pension industry which will be a game changer that would spur more issuances of NICM by corporates and other categories of issuers”.
Yuguda said SEC Nigeria has not relented in its efforts to discharge its primary mandate of regulating and developing the Nigerian capital market; protection of investors has been one of our key focus. Numerous initiatives being implemented in this regard include the establishment of the National Investor Protection Fund (NIPF) aimed at compensating investors who incur losses arising from insolvency, bankruptcy or negligence of a capital market operator; the e-Dividend registration and payment system, dematerialisation and direct cash settlement system all aimed at ensuring an efficient process of securities transaction and elimination/minimising cases of unclaimed dividend.