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SEC starts regulatory incubation for fintechs

Japaul moves to raise N20bn through special placement

Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has opened the Regulatory Incubation (RI) programme for FinTech firms operating or seeking to operate in the Nigerian Capital Market. This was contained in a Circular dated April 28, 2023 and released by the Commission.

According to the circular, the portal would be opened from April 28 to May 26 and registered capital market operators as well as unregistered Fintech innovators that require regulation are encouraged to apply.

The SEC said the move to open a portal comes from a 2021 Circular where the Commission announced the imminent roll-out of the SEC Regulatory Incubation (RI) program for FinTechs operating or seeking to operate in the Nigerian Capital Market.

Announcing the programme, the SEC said: “Please refer to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)circular of June 2021 announcing its Regulatory Incubation (RI) program for FinTech firms operating or seeking to operate in the Nigerian Capital Market.

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“This is to inform you that the portal for submitting applications is now ready to receive applications from Cohort 001/23, from 28/04/2023 to 26/05/2023. Cohorts will be announced at specific times.

The Circular identifies those that can apply as “Registered Capital Market Operators, Unregistered Fintech innovators that require regulation, Firms of all sizes and firms that want to enhance investor participation in the Nigeria Capital Market”.

The SEC noted that companies that want to apply and participate in the Regulatory Incubation Program, must demonstrate they meet the 5 eligibility criteria, which are the innovation is: For application in the Nigeria Capital Market; Safe for investors; A genuine innovation that introduces a new product/process to serve specific investor needs; Able to solve existing compliance or supervisory issues (optional) and ready for testing.

“Please provide as much information as possible about how you meet these criteria when submitting your application. If you are looking to test your proposition, you may apply for an engagement session,” the SEC stated.

The Circular further revealed that FinTechs in the areas of, Crowdfunding, Robo Advisory/Digital Investment Advisory and Sub-Broker Serving Multiple brokers using a digital platform are urged not to apply, adding that there are already regulations for them and they should not apply for Regulatory Incubation.

“The Regulatory Incubation (RI) program is designed to address the needs of new business models and processes that require regulatory authorisation to continue carrying out full or ancillary technology-driven Capital Market activities.

“The RI Program has thus been conceived as an interim measure to aid the evolution of effective regulation which accommodates the innovation by FinTechs without compromising market integrity and within limits that ensure investor protection,” the SEC added.