By Omodele Adigun
IN order to focus on the implementation of the 10-year capital market development master plan, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced a major restructuring of its operations.
According to the Commission, the restructuring entails both a review of the organizational structure as well as a voluntary retirement scheme to trim down the previously top-heavy ranking structure, adding that the exercise was aimed at boosting staff morale and improving service delivery.
A statement from the regulator says that it has shut down four of its zonal offices in Kaduna, Ibadan, Maiduguri and Onitsha in order to allocate both human and material resources to strengthen the remaining three in Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt.
It adds: “This decision became necessary after a careful review of the operations and performances of all the zonal offices. Initially, the zonal offices were ostensibly created to bring SEC operations closer to the investing public both in terms of complaints resolution and investor education. The review, however, showed that the Commission could accomplish these objectives more efficiently by leveraging on technology and shifting resources to the use of both print and electronic media for public enlightenment. Additionally, the new complaints management framework being championed by the Commission will delegate first stages of complaints management to the operators and trade groups. This implies that less and less complaints will be handled by the SEC, further reducing the need for multiple zonal offices.
“With the three zonal offices to be maintained, SEC will still enjoy a balanced geopolitical spread as the Lagos zonal office covers the entire southwest geopolitical zone, the Port Harcourt office will service the south-south and southeast zone while the office in Kano will cater for investors across the northern region. In essence, by closing the four zonal offices and strengthening the remaining three, SEC can do more at a lower cost, this will free up resources to be allocated to critical areas of the Commission’s mandate like investor protection and investor education.”
Another aspect of the structural reform is the approval of a voluntary retirement scheme to incentivize top-level staff above the age of 45 who had served the Commission for more than 10 years and a nearing retirement. “Through this exercise, at the end of July, 43 very senior staff exited the Commission, some of whom had served for more than 20 years and had stagnated for up to 11 years on the same position due to the non-availability of vacancies.”
Also, SEC has planned to leverage on technology to strengthen supervisory functions in order to boost market efficiency and align with best practice. The Commission has embarked on the process of auditing the industry information technology infrastructure. “This is in a bid to ascertain the current status of automation in the market, articulate the appropriate level required, and invest in the required resources that will aid market automation, improve transparency and efficiency and indeed boost market competitiveness”, it stated.
Source : SunOnline