At a compliance meeting held by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with the CEOs of stock broking firms on the 7th of January, 2011; the riot act was read to the brokers with regards to the need to enforce the existing capital requirements.
The management of the Exchange represented that all dealing member firms should ensure that they shore up their capital base to the minimum of N70 million and render their quarterly account regularly or face being barred from the market.
Barely two weeks after the meeting was held, the NSE released names of fifty-seven (57) stockbroking firms with inadequate shareholders fund and immediately suspended such firms from trading on the floor. The exchange later added four (4) more dealing member firms to take the total number of firms affected to sixty-one (61).
Among the companies suspended were: Adamawa Securities Limited, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, BGL Securities Limited, Century Securities Limited, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Diamond Securities Limited, First Inland Securities Limited, FIS Securities Limited, Nigerian Stockbrokers Limited, UBA Stockbrokers Limited, Vision Trust and Investment Limited, Pivot Trust and Investment Company Limited, Sigma Securities Limited and Eurocomm Securities Limited.
Some of these firms responded positively to this development/requirement – noting that arrangements had been underway to comply but for the hiatus created at the exchange – and have since complied.
According to our records at Proshare, twenty (20) dealing member firms have since complied with the directives while forty-one (41) are still classified as having ‘inadequate shareholders funds’ as at 3rd of March, 2011. Follow this link to view the list of affected firms
The question now is this – would the NSE use this situation to send a signal as regards its disposition to rules, supervision and enforcement by
1. Announcing an extension to the time limit which expired on March 31st 2011; or
2. Withdrawing the dealing or/and brokerage licences of these firms; or
3. Setting up an incentive scheme where guidance can and will be provided for firms willing to merge and a support service to help those unable to merge come together under a ‘scheme of merger’; or
4. Announcing a spilt in services between dealing and brokerage services with revised capital requirements; or lastly
5. Adopting any combination of the above.
Whichever decision comes out from the exchange, it is important for the market to know that things will never be the same again.
What is now left to be answered is how soon will these inevitability happen and what guidance will the NSE be providing both the operators, investors and general public on how this process will be managed.
Uncertainty is not what the market needs at this time. It is time we confront this matter and get it over with, within the rules of the market and a dose of common sense.