NSE shuts down trading floor on coronavirus spread

THE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) will tomorrow shut down all its trading floors under a 30-day emergency response plan to the continuing spread of Covid-19. Stockbrokers will, however, continue to trade using their remote platforms. The plan will also see NSE’s staff working through various digital platforms.

The Exchange also yesterday granted a 60-day grace period for companies to submit their audited report and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2019. Under the extant rules, these companies are required to submit their results not later than March 30, 2020. The 60-day grace period extends the deadline to May 29, 2020.

NSE Chief Executive Officer, Mr Oscar Onyema, in a circular yesterday, said the remote working plan was in response to significant growth in new cases.

He explained that the plan for NSE’s employees excluding essential staff will be activated today but in order to give dealing members enough notice, the NSE will from tomorrow temporarily close its trading floors.

He added that during this 30-day remote working plan, remote trading will continue and NSE staff will be available through all its digital platforms to provide support.

He explained that all physical meetings within and outside NSE’s office premises have been suspended until further notice while the Exchange has instructed its employees to leverage technological tools to conduct meetings virtually.

According to him, in line with the Exchange’s robust business continuity management framework, it had put in place measures to ensure its operations and trading activities continue seamlessly throughout this period.

“As an exchange, we will ensure that all relevant information continues to flow into the market to ensure the pricing of risk assets remains transparent and reliable across asset classes to allow investors to value their portfolios and make informed investment decisions under these volatile conditions,” Onyema said.

He noted that while the Coronavirus pandemic had come with an unanticipated human and economic crisis with businesses and capital markets significantly impacted, the Exchange has continued to operate during its normal trading days and hours pursuant to the activation of business continuity plans that affirm the resilience of the market.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the Exchange to providing an efficient market that allows investors access to liquidity even in the most trying of times.

“Dealing members are, therefore, encouraged to continue to trade remotely via our electronic platforms such as FIX protocol and XNET, and reach out to their compliance officer if any support is required. Please note that we will provide manual support to members without remote access during this period.

‘’Issuers who have any business to conduct with the Exchange can reach out to their relationship manager for guidance. You should continue to submit all regulatory filings via Issuers’ Portal (X-Issuer). As the Exchange embraces social distancing as prescribed by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), we have further engaged with the Federal Government on issues of annual general meetings, maturing financial instruments, financial reporting, to mention a few and appropriate updates will be provided in due course,” Onyema said.

Head, Listings Regulation Department, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Godstime Iwenekhai said the 60-day extension of regulatory deadline for submission of results was in recognition of the fact that some of the internal governance, auditing and other procedures and processes of listed companies may have been disrupted by Covid-19.

“During this period, there will be no sanctions for companies that are unable to file the audited financial statement,” Iwenekhai said.

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