Business News of Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Source: B&FT

Cabinet approves new securities law

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it is not ready to issue any directives to listed companies to change their external auditors.

The Bank of Ghana and the National Insurance Commission have directed their respective players to change external auditors they have been working with for more than five years.

SEC Director-General, Adu Anane Antwi, in an interview with B&FT, said: “These two institutions have in their laws the right to issue these directives and guidelines for industry players to comply.”

“We are now changing our laws in order to get the right to be issuing these directives. When we have the laws in place, and there is the need to come out with guidelines, we will do so.”

Ghana’s securities industries law is undergoing review to reflect international standards. The revised law, which has received Cabinet’s approval, is yet to be considered by Parliament.

Mr. Antwi, said: “We have done so much work regarding reviewing our law. We are hopeful that Parliament will be able to pass it.

“We don’t want the international financial community to look at us [and say] that our laws and rules are not conducive for investment; these are some of the things we want to avoid.”

He said as a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), SEC is under obligation to ensure that all the securities laws in the country are aligned with international norms to achieve the three main objectives: protect investors; ensure fair, efficient, and transparent markets; and reduce systemic risk.

“We are working toward it and that is why we have to amend our laws to bring in provisions which will allow us to do that. If we don’t have laws that are conducive enough, we’ll have problems.”

He explained that the amendment of the securities industry law will incorporate developing, implementing and promoting adherence to internationally recognised and consistent standards of regulation, oversight and enforcement in order to protect investors, maintain fair, efficient and transparent markets, and seek to address systemic risks.

When passed, the law will enhance investor protection and promote investor confidence in the integrity of Ghana’s securities market through strengthened information exchange and cooperation in enforcement against misconduct, and in supervision of markets and market intermediaries.

The country’s securities industry will also be in a position to exchange information at both global and regional levels on their respective experiences in order to assist the development of markets, strengthen market infrastructure and implement appropriate regulation.