SECP issues draft rules to liberalise non-bank financial sector

ISLAMABAD: In pursuance of its agenda to reform non-bank financial services, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has issued draft Self-Regulatory Organisations (Registration) Regulations, 2021, for soliciting public comments.

According to statement issued by the commission, these transformational regulations, being introduced for the first time under the SECP Act 1997, are intended to promote the establishment of self-regulatory organizations (SROs) to inculcate self-discipline and collective responsibility among market players, with a view to enhancing investor confidence.

Internationally, there has been a shift towards self-regulation; typically involving a unique combination of private interests with government oversight, as it offers an effective and efficient form of regulation for the complex, dynamic, and ever-changing financial services industry. An SRO, having a certain degree of regulatory authority over an industry or profession, can serve as a collective forum for advancing objectives of the industry through adoption of higher standards of operations, promotion of fair practices, efficient complaint handling mechanisms for improved customer experience, and enhancement of research and development functions.

According to the statement, the draft regulations cover the parameters for registration and regulation of companies that are eligible to be registered as an SRO under the SECP Act, 1997, and lays down fit and proper criteria applicable on its promoters, directors, chief executive and chairman of the board of directors. The regulations also specify the obligations and functions of an SRO and enable them to make regulations designed to improve transparency and fair play, screening, certification and training requirements, measures to reduce conflicts of interest, and improved compliance with the code of corporate governance.

The draft Self-Regulatory Organizations, (Registration) Regulations, 2021, have been placed on SECP’s website and can be accessed. Interested entities, stakeholders and the general public can submit their comments on the draft within thirty days from the date of its notification. The draft regulations will be finalized in the light of stakeholder consultation and subsequently notified after the due regulatory process, said the statement.

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