Mary Uduk: Astute Administrator, Leader with Exceptional Quality

Wole Olajide

Mary Uduk is an industrious and highly experienced management professional, administrator and leader. She is currently the Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Nigeria.

Uduk holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Business School, Netherlands respectively. She is a 2009 Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and has attended various executive/management programmes such as, Securitization and Housing Finance at Wharton Business School, International Borrowing and Debt Management at the International Law Institute, Washington D.C. She was also on Secondment to British Columbia Securities Commission, Vancouver, Canada.

Prior to her current position in SEC, she was at various times the Head of Internal Control, Financial Standards & Corporate Governance, and Securities & Investment Services Departments, amongst others in the Commission.

Uduk joined the SEC in 1986 as an assistant financial analyst and her career as a regulator has spanned many functions and departments in the Commission, from corporate finance, administration, to providing structural, policy and due diligence for capital market transactions.

She has also been responsible for managing several landmark capital market projects, including the registration of Capital Market Operators, articulating rules for bonds and equities; mergers, acquisitions and takeovers, and managing the banking and insurance industry consolidations between 2005-2007.

Uduk served as the pioneer Head of the Operations Division in the Lagos Zonal Office, and has headed a number of departments in the commission which include Internal Control, Investment Management, Financial Standards and Corporate Governance and Securities, and Investment Services Department, among others.

Under her watch as the Acting D.G of Securities and Exchange Commission, accessing unclaimed dividend and merger of multiple share accounts into one is now made easy. The cumbersome process that was in place in merging multiple share accounts was reviewed when she came on board.

The origin of the Securities and Exchange Commission dates back to 1962, when an ad hoc consultative and advisory body, known as the Capital Issues Committee, was established under the aegis of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).  Its mandate was to examine applications from companies seeking to raise capital from the capital market and recommend the timing of such issues to prevent issues clustering which could overstretch the market’s capacity. The Committee operated within the Central Bank of Nigeria unofficially as a capital market consultative and advisory body with no regulatory framework.

An increase in the level of economic activities, coupled with the promulgation of the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decree in 1972, necessitated the establishment of a body backed by law to regulate capital market activities hence the creation of the Capital Issues Commission to take over the activities of the Capital Issues Committee.  The Capital Issues Commission was established with the promulgation of the Capital Issues Commission Decree in March 1973.

The new body had a board of nine (9) members, including a representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria who served as Chairman, while the other eight (8) members were drawn from some Federal Ministries, the industrial and financial sectors of the economy.

In order to cope with emergent challenges, the powers of the Capital Issues Commission had to be further enhanced.  A Financial System Review Committee was set up by the federal government to review capital market activities and proffer ways of developing the market.  The recommendations of the Financial System Review Committee in 1976, led to the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission following the promulgation of the Securities and Exchange Commission Decree No. 71 of 1979 to supersede the Capital Issues Commission in 1979.

The Commission had more powers to regulate and develop the Nigerian capital market, in addition to determining the prices of issues and setting the basis for allotment of securities.  Unlike its two predecessors, the Commission at this stage was excised from the CBN, although it continued to receive funding from the apex bank.

It also had an enlarged 12-member board with a CBN representative as Chairman. Other members were drawn from the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industries, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Board; other members were nominated on the basis of individual merit.

The Commission took off effectively on January 1, 1980 with 51 staff out of which seven (7) were seconded (for a period of three years) from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) while a few senior and support service staff were recruited.

Nine (9) years after the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the enabling law, Decree No. 7 of 1979, was re-enacted as SEC Decree No. 29 of 1988 with additional provisions to address observed lapses in the previous arrangement and to enable the Commission pursue its functions more effectively.

To further enhance the Commission’s pursuit of its objective of investor protection, a review of the capital market was carried out in 1996 by a seven – man panel headed by Chief Dennis Odife. Based on the panel’s recommendations, a new Act known as “The Investment and Securities Act No. 45 of 1999” was promulgated on May 26, 1999. The Act repealed the SEC Act of 1998. The new Act was expected to promote a more efficient and virile capital market, pivotal to meeting the nation’s economic and developmental aspirations.

The Investment and Securities Act (ISA) was further reviewed, amended and subsequently passed into law in 2007.  SEC currently derives its powers from the ISA 29 of 2007.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) joined the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in   June 1985.  The IOSCO is a body of Securities Commissions with the goal of cooperating in developing, implementing and promoting adherence to internationally recognised and consistent standards of securities market regulation.  The Nigerian SEC qualified as an Appendix ‘A’ Signatory to the IOSCO MMOU in 2006 and has continuously been benchmarking its market rules and regulations against those of IOSCO, the global international standards setter.

With the mission to develop and regulate a Capital Market that is dynamic, fair, transparent and efficient, to contribute to the nation’s economic development, SEC Nigeria is on its way to become Africa’s Leading Capital Market Regulator

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