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SEC closes offices, cuts staff in major restructuring

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In from Success Allantee …
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Nigeria’s capital market regulator, is closing four of its seven zonal offices and cutting down its top senior management team in a major restructuring exercise that cuts across the Commission’s operations, staff and technology.
A document on the restructuring exercise indicated that 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.
Under the restructuring exercise, SEC is using incentives to scale down its top management staff. The board of SEC had approved a voluntary retirement scheme proposed by the Executive Management to incentivize top-level staff above the age of 45 who had served the Commission for more than 10 years and nearing their retirement to voluntarily retire.
Through this exercise, at the end of July 2015, 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.
The Commission had been operating at an unsustainably top-heavy structure with a lot more senior level staff and junior level ones. For example, as at January 2015, there were over 30 Deputy Directors, more than 40 Assistant Directors and upward of 80 Senior Managers.
SEC is also closing four of its existing seven zonal offices. Under the previous organizational structure, SEC operated with a head office in Abuja and 7 zonal offices in Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan, Lagos, Maiduguri, Onitsha and Port Harcourt. In the new arrangement, the body has decided to close down 4 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.
SEC yesterday stated that the decision to close the zonal offices was arrived at because it could leverage on technology and shift resources to the use of both print and electronic media for public enlightenment to achieve the primary objective of investors’ education.
The Commission stated that the its new complaints management framework will delegate first stages of complaints management to the operators and trade groups, which implies that less and less complaints will be handled by the SEC, further reducing the need for multiple zonal offices.
“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,” SEC noted.
The Commission also noted that it intends to strengthen functions such as monitoring, investigation and registration at the Lagos zonal office which will enable operators to reduce their overhead cost.

Read also: 70 stockbroking firms risk SEC hammer

According to the Commission, the move to shift more roles and functions to the Lagos office will boost institutional capacity and increase efficiency while improving service delivery by reducing turnaround time for processing applications. In addition, SEC can reduce its overhead cost as well, while taking full advantage of proximity to operators to discharge its responsibilities in a timelier manner.
The Commission stated that it has embarked on the process of auditing the industry information technology infrastructure in a bid to ascertain the current status of automation in the market, articulate the appropriate level required, and invests in the required resources that will aid market automation, improve transparency and efficiency and indeed boost market competitiveness.
“This far-reaching restructuring underway at the SEC is repositioning the institution to focus on the strategic objective of faithfully implementing the 10-year capital market master plan developed by the market. The institution is now a lot more nimble and refocused on its core mandates,” SEC stated.

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