Compliance Dialogue II
Compliance Dialogue II

The Future of Financial Regulations in Nigeria: Driving Compliance and Building Sustainable Financial Systems


The Prembly event on the future of financial regulations in Nigeria brought together key industry experts, regulators, and representatives from financial institutions to discuss the evolving landscape of regulatory frameworks and the challenges faced in ensuring compliance. The event, hosted by Prembly, aimed to foster transparency and dialogue between regulators and the regulated, encouraging a better understanding of the rationale behind regulations and their impact on the financial services sector.

The discussion focused on the need for innovative approaches to regulation, cybersecurity, and the importance of localizing policies for the Nigerian market. The speakers included Olufemi Shobanjo (NGX), Ayo Adesina (Polaris Bank), Kolade Adebayo (NGX Group), Anthony Aggreh (Capitalfield Financial Management Ltd), and moderated by Adenike Oyetunde-Lawal.

As the financial landscape rapidly changes, regulators must listen to the concerns of the regulated and foster an environment conducive to the ease of doing business. As Olufemi Shobanjo, the Regulation Head of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGX), stated, “Innovation has to go ahead of regulation.” Regulations should not be rigid but evolve in response to dynamic market conditions and feedback from the industry, highlighting the importance of coordination and collaboration between regulators and financial institutions.

The discussion delved into the growing importance of cybersecurity as technology advances. While statistics show that 90% of businesses on the continent are vulnerable to attacks and with hackers constantly evolving, Kolade Adebayo, Compliance Manager at Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX Group), stressed the necessity of investing heavily in cybersecurity. Companies must assess their vulnerabilities through ethical hacking and implement robust data encryption measures to identify system gaps and provide insights against cyber threats.

To build sustainable systems, the panelists emphasized the significance of localizing policies and building to the specific needs of the Nigerian market. There’s a need to improve the infrastructure and implement monitoring systems; we need correspondence and uniformity to prioritize protection institutionally, locally, and nationwide. However, the infrastructure isn’t there yet, but engaging with stakeholders in the process is crucial to ensuring that regulations are practical, market-friendly, and meet the needs of the businesses they impact.

Ayo Adesina, Head of KYC and Due Diligence at Polaris Bank, advocated for policies that prioritize substantive engagement and room for feedback. There’s also a space for regulators to look through to see how realistic these regulations are. It is imperative to engage with the regulated and uphold compliance for digital safety, business operations, and outlook globally. For instance, leaving the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) latest release in June.

With growing companies across the country, giving utmost importance to data protection is crucial. Startups need to step back and thoroughly assess regulatory and compliance requirements before going live, leaving no room for errors, as commencing from less-than-ideal leads to a continuous chain of issue-solving. There are institutions for running a good compliance practice, and these should be deployed. Additionally, companies, especially in this part of the world, are often hesitant to declare breaches due to the potential reputational damage they may suffer. As a solution, conducting vulnerability assessments at the backend becomes essential in ensuring data security and safeguarding against potential threats.

Moreover, the market tends to reward companies perceived to have robust systems in place, often resulting in their share prices outshining competitors. Femi Shobanjo stressed the importance of compliance in enhancing market reputation and fostering customer loyalty. Building loyalty among customers is directly linked to doing the right things and prioritizing compliance with financial regulations.

The event concluded with Lanre Ogungbe announcing Prembly’s Compliance Tracker, a groundbreaking tool to ensure global compliance across regulatory bodies. This tracker will enable access to compliance regulations and reports from various countries, providing summaries and empowering users to make informed decisions and stay on top of regulatory requirements.

The tracker has already been launched in Nigeria, featuring reports from prominent regulatory bodies such as NGX, CBN, and EFCC. In the upcoming weeks, the exact implementation is scheduled for Kenya, followed by other countries, as Prembly extends its reach into emerging markets.

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