SEC urges GIPC to woo portfolio investors

Adu Anane Antwi, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), says the Commission is engaging the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to sell the country as a profitable destination for portfolio investments.

The GIPC is the agency mandated to encourage, promote and facilitate investment in the country, while SEC licences and regulates the securities industry.

However, the SEC believes that there has been little cooperation between the two entities and an overemphasis on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

“We are having discussions with the GIPC about ways we can collaborate. We started the discussion with the past Chief Executive Officer and have also started engaging the current CEO. We need to collaborate more. GIPC over the years has been more concerned about FDIs, not portfolio investment.

“What we are saying is let the capital market people be part of the discussion. In most countries, it’s portfolio investment that is growing,” he said at the launch of this year’s Capital Market Week celebration.

He said the Commission’s limited powers present a source of worry for a sensitive industry that is heavily regulated in other parts of the world. The United States, for instance, has one of the most powerful securities industry regulators in the world — that is able to sanction and close down non-complying entities.

“The commission has limited powers,” Mr. Antwi said. “Even when we are able to identify illegal operators, we cannot close them down but rather have to rely on the police. If we had the powers by law, we could close them down and go to court the same day to freeze their assets so as to protect investors.”

The capital market week, instituted in 2007, is designed to help educate a large number of Ghanaians on how to create wealth using the capital market as a means of investment.

“Investor education is not a mandatory requirement of the SEC in Ghana, but it is undertaken under the overall goal of investor protection,” Mr. Antwi said. “The SEC believes investor education is the right thing to do, as informed and educated investors are one of the key drivers of growth for securities markets.”

The 2014 Capital Market Week — taking place from October 27-31 — is organised by the SEC, Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) and the Ghana Securities Industries Association (GSIA) under the theme “The Capital Market: Creating Wealth for All”.

This year’s event includes the first capital market quiz for 22 government-assisted Senior High Schools (SHS) in the Greater Accra Region.

The schools have been grouped into five zones and the zonal level quiz is scheduled to be held on October 24, with the from the five zones meeting for the finals on October 31.

The Commission, in furtherance of its education drive, has designed and implemented a programme dubbed “Child Finance Club”, which aims at catching investors while they are young and is targetted at students from Upper-Primary to SHS.

source : B &FT

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