.Trading in Royal Exchange, Niger Insurance’s shares suspended
For failing to adhere to regulatory rules and regulations instituted by the stock market regulator, at least seven underwriting firms have been fined a total of N325.7 million between 2020 and 2021, according to the latest X-Compliance report released by the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX).
According to the September 17 report cited by New Telegraph, Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc received the highest chunk of the fine, amounting to N256.3 million for unauthorised publication of notice of annual general meeting and problem with 2020 audited financial statement.
A breakdown of the fines also shows Universal receiving a total of N12.3 million, Lasaco, N19.3 million, Royal Exchange N5.4 million and Niger, N42.2 million. For unauthorised publication, the underwriting firm was fined N248.06 million while the penalty for the 2020 audited statement cost it N7.7 million.
In penalising the underwriters, the regulator said they fell short of the minimum filing standards in terms of timely disclosure of their audited annual and quarterly financial statements and also missed regulatory filings or awaiting approval from their primary regulator.
For the non-rendition of audited 2020 financial statements, the regulator listed Niger Insurance Plc, Royal Exchange Plc, Goldlink Insurance Plc, Standard Alliance Plc, International Energy Insurance Plc and Staco Insurance Plc, whose infraction dated back to 2018.
For non-rendition of 2021 quarterly statements, the regulator listed Niger Insurance Plc, Royal Exchange Plc, Goldlink (2019- 2021) and Staco Insurance Plc (2019 -2021).
For disclosure violations, where they breached certain provisions of the listing rules, Prestige Assurance Plc was also hammered by the regulator. For filing their audited and interim financial statements after the regulatory due date, Universal Insurance Plc was fined N9.10 million, Lasaco (Q1’21), N6.1 million and audited 2020 statement, N9 million.
For 2019, Universal paid a fine of N3.2 million, and another N3.2 million for first quarter 2020. In the same vein, Lasaco was penalised for first quarter 2020 infraction as it was fined N4.4 million, Royal Exchange, N5.4 million for first quarter 2020 infraction while Niger Insurance got a total of N42.2 million fine.
Meanwhile, for failure to file the relevant accounts by the expiration of the cure period, trading in Royal Exchange and Niger Insurance’s shares was suspended on July 2, 2021.
Besides the underwriting firms, the NGX also fined other quoted companies, which raised the total fines to N758.330 million. Checks by New Telegraph showed that the companies were sanctioned during over their inability to meet the regulatory requirements ranging between 2015 and second quarter of 2021.
The companies include Japaul Gold and Ventures Plc, Meyer Plc, Afromedia Plc, Greif Nigeria Plc, FTN Cocoa Processors Nigeria Plc, NPF Microfinance Bank Plc, C & I Leasing Plc, Notore Chemicals Industries Plc, Juli Plc, Greif Nigeria Plc and Omatek Ventures Plc, among others.
The Exchange in its X-Compliance report explained that the initiative was designed to maintain market integrity and protect the investors by providing compliance related information on all listed companies.