Yomi Adebanjo, a fellow of the institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigerian, ICSAN has advised financial regulators to always engage with practitioners before rules and guidelines are deployed to enhance compliance and understanding towards growing sectors.
Adebanjo gave this advice recently in Lagos on the background of the new directive of electronic filing of necessary documents by companies as demanded by financial regulators , a shift from paper era.
Adebanjo who spoke on ‘Corporate Governance Regulatory Compliance in an emerging era of electronic filing’ at ICSAN Governance Practitioners Day reminded regulators that they play a major role in governance and compliance and therefore, they should make it easy through enhanced engagement with practitioners.
“There is a need for more engagement, even at an early stage of systems design to accommodate the expectations of the users in terms of format, content and deliverables of the systems”.
To the practitioners, Adebanjo who is the company secretary of Fidson Nigeria Plc, advised them to be professional in taking matters with regulators in the area of electronic filing and present some of the glitches experienced. He however tasked them to work through professional bodies to present common challenges.
“The practitioners should speak as a body and that way they are likely to achieve the desired result”. He however said that the challenges are not similar as the challenge a practitioner faces may be different from another practitioner.
He said in the pre-electronic filing era, files and documents had to be physically move from one office to another and practitioners had the opportunity of pleading their courses with verifying and approving authorities. At that time, processes could be delayed as files sometimes got missing.
He also listed expectations from electronic filing portals of regulators to include easy access to the portal, but adequate security needs to be mounted to prevent hacking; verifiability – the portal should be able to support due diligence examination and internal and external audit processes; and processing time should be as short as possible.
During the panel discussion, the discussants including Tolulope Sonaike, assistant director, Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC; Titus Osawe, director of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria said regulators would continue to align with ICSAN to promote corporate governance in Nigeria.
Sonaike said the regulators want to get electronic filing right and they are currently addressing concerns by the practitioners.
Funmi Ekundayo, President of ICSAN said the electronic filings with the regulators have gradually become an inextricable part of modern corporate compliance culture and business transactions.” It is a realty that technology and its developments have foisted on us”.
She said the Governance Practitioners Day, is a platform for bringing together professionals in governance field, to brainstorm on issues relating to their profession and come up with ideas to expand the frontiers of knowledge in governance field.