The Securities and Exchange Commission, on Thursday, warned fintech companies to desist from operating illegally in Nigeria.
The apex capital market regulator said it would continue to engage players in the fintech space and support them to operate lawfully in a bid to ensure the delivery of safe products and services without stifling innovation.
Its Director-General, Mr Lamido Yuguda, noted a recent circular was issued by the commission in its desire to ensure that only fit and proper persons continued to operate in the capital market.
“It became imperative for the commission to issue this notice for the protection of investors and to preserve the sanctity of the Nigerian capital market as only registered capital market operators are permitted to intermediate in the market and only through approved channels,” he was quoted in a statement as saying at a press briefing at the end of the Capital Market Committee meeting.
He said, “We do not want any unregulated entity to participate in the market because if there are issues it becomes very difficult to resolve. I therefore encourage fintech firms to approach the commission for due registration and desist from operating illegally.
“In the same vein, registered CMOs are advised to refrain from providing any form of support to unregistered entities operating unlawfully within our market, as such action would not be condoned. Furthermore, we urge CMOs to improve on their level of compliance, timeliness and correctness of disclosures and other filings made to the Commission.”
Yuguda said the commission was also mindful of developments in the crypto asset space.
He said following initial warnings to the public, the SEC undertook a process to further understand this class of assets, including setting up Fintech and Blockchain Committees and releasing a statement on digital assets, their classification and treatment in September, 2020.
“Subsequently the CBN directed its regulated institutions to close bank accounts of crypto exchanges to protect the financial system from abuse. We are in discussions with the CBN on how to better understand and regulate the market, given the need to take advantage of the emerging innovations while protecting investors and the financial system” he added.
He said the commission was working towards resolving any legacy issues with unclaimed dividends, urging all stakeholders to comply with all directives of the commission as defaulters would be sanctioned appropriately.
He said. “There is no reason why there will be unclaimed dividends for new investors or newly-listed companies adding every investor should be promptly paid his/her dividends upon declaration and payment.
“The commission has observed that certain Capital Market Operators frustrate the e-dividend mandate process. We have observed that the growth in the number of mandated accounts has been on the decline for some time.”