Preparatory to its imminent demutualisation, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), on Friday announced its appointment of a five-man Claims Review Panel to be chaired by George Etomi.
The panel, whose members include Seni Adio, SAN; Abatcha Bulama, Dr. Paul Anababa, SAN; and Prince Aghatise Erediauwa, the NSE said in a statement, was inaugurated December 21, 2020, pursuant to the provisions of the Demutualisation of The Nigerian Stock Exchange Act 2018.
The selections of members, the statement assured, followed a diligent search for distinguished individuals with the required expertise and extensive track records of integrity, excellence and achievements in their respective fields of specialisation, in a bid to safeguard its independence.
“The Panel serves as an independent alternative dispute resolution mechanism for the review and determination of Claims made by individuals or entities in respect of any assertion of rights in the shares of the demutualised Exchange i.e. Nigerian Exchange Group Plc,” the exchange noted.
Explaining further, the statement added that “the Panel will sit in an appellate capacity and review Claims from Claimants’ who are dissatisfied with any decision of the National Council of The Exchange on a Claim pre-demutualisation, or the Board of Directors of the HoldCo, post demutualisation of The Exchange.”
As part of the demutualisation process, the NSE (which is currently a company limited by guarantee) would be converted into and re-registered as a public company limited by shares.
Consequently, shares of the HoldCo are to be allotted to current members of The Exchange (stockbroking firms and individuals), while the securities exchange license of the current NSE would be transferred to Nigerian Exchange Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the HoldCo. The NGX is expected to carry on the securities exchange business of the group, while the NGX Regulation Limited offers the regulatory services.
Recall that the NSE board recently announced the appointment of chief executives for the holdco and its three emergent entities, as operating subsidiaries including- Nigerian Exchange Limited (or NGX as the operating exchange); NGX Regulation Limited (or NGX REGCO as the independent regulatory arm); and NGX Real Estate Limited (or NGX RELCO, as the real estate company).
Chief executives of the entities which have been duly registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), are Oscar Onyema, Group Chief Executive of the Holdco; Temi Popoola, Chief Executive of NGX; and Ms. Tinuade Awe, CEO of NGX REGCO, subject to to the approvals of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).
The panel is established pursuant to the Demutualisation of The Nigerian Stock Exchange Act 2018 (the Act) which provides that a claim may be asserted within the period commencing from the coming into force of the Act and six years after the demutualisation of The Exchange.
On how the panel would operate, after a notification of the decision of the Council or Board on whether a claimant has any right to the shares claimed, the claimant is required to inform the Council or Board of an intention to challenge the findings of the Council or the board before the panel within 14 days.
Upon receipt of such notice of an intention to appeal, the council or board shall, within 14 days convene the panel and provide the chairman and each member of the panel all documents considered necessary for making its finding on the assertion of the Claimant.
Inaugurating the panel, Otunba Abimbola Ogunbanjo, President, The Nigerian Stock Exchange, expressed hope that members “will discharge their responsibilities without any fear or favour in an objective and dispassionate manner, being guided by principles of fair hearing, equity and natural justice”.
He expressed optimism that the Panel would diligently carry out its functions and responsibilities under the Act and that each member would bring to bear their respective experience and expertise to enrich deliberations and decisions.
Etomi is the founder and principal partner of George Etomi Partners, a full-service commercial law firm providing turnkey legal services to clients in diverse sectors of the Nigerian economy, with an unmatched reputation for attention to detail and client satisfaction. He is a director of the Eko Electricity Distribution Company Limited.
Adio is the managing partner of Copley Partners and director at Oodu’a Group; while Bulama, a one-time senior manager at the SEC, is a council member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
Also, Dr. Ananaba is the Principal Partner at Paul C Ananaba & Co., Prince Erediauwa, a lawyer who was general manager at the NSE, retired December 8, 2020, from the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), where he was Executive Director (Operations), after serving two five-year terms.