NSE Closes Trading Floors Wednesday, Goes Fully Digital

March 24, 2020
local bourse Nigeria

By Dipo Olowookere

The management of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has disclosed that effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020, it would activate a 30-day remote working plan for its employees excluding essential staff.

In a statement signed on Monday by the chief executive of the exchange, Mr Oscar Onyema, it was stated that from “Wednesday, March 25 , 2020 all our trading floors will be temporarily closed.”

In view of this, stockbrokers have been advised to “continue to trade remotely via our electronic platforms such as FIX protocol and XNET, and reach out to their Compliance Officer if any support is required,” while those without remote access would still receive manual support from the exchange during this period.

The NSE explained that it took this decision to shut down its trading floors due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which has forced notable exchanges across the globe to take a similar action.

Business Post reports that on Monday, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) commenced an all-electronic trading due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the announcement of the index case in Nigeria on February 25, 2020, a total of 40 cases have been confirmed in the country with two discharged cases and one death.

Schools have been closed by government, while large gatherings have been reduced to 20 people in Lagos and social distancing advised.

Pursuant to the activation of business continuity plans, the NSE has continued to operate its normal trading days and hours, providing an efficient market that allows investors access to liquidity even in the most trying of times.

But in view of the present realities, the management has decided to activate a 30-day remote working plan for its employees excluding essential staff.

The NSE, which said it regrets any inconvenience this may cause in the discharge of investors’ business activities, noted that remote trading will continue and NSE staff will be available through all its digital platforms to provide support, saying the decision was in the “best interest of all stakeholders at this time.”

“In line with our robust business continuity management framework, we would like to reassure you that we have put in place measures to ensure our operations and trading activities continue seamlessly throughout this period.

“As an exchange, we will ensure that all relevant information continues to flow into the market to ensure the pricing of risk assets remains transparent and reliable across asset classes to allow investors to value their portfolios and make informed investment decisions under these volatile conditions,” Mr Onyema said in the statement.

He stated that, “Issuers who have any business to conduct with the exchange can reach out to their Relationship Manager for guidance. You should continue to submit all regulatory filings via Issuers’ Portal (X-Issuer).”

“As the exchange embraces social distancing as prescribed by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), we have further engaged with the federal government on issues of Annual General Meetings, maturing financial instruments, financial reporting, to mention a few and appropriate updates will be provided in due course.

“Furthermore, all physical meetings within and outside our office premises have been suspended until further notice. We have instructed our employees to leverage technological tools to conduct meetings virtually. We assure you that our virtual lines of communication will remain open to engage with you and attend to your needs.

“Please contact us via e-mail, mobile phone or other digital channels if you have any questions, comments, complaints or observations in this regard.

“We understand that these are trying times, but we are committed to ensuring we do not experience any disruptions to our operations. As we navigate this new reality, we encourage you to follow our various communication channels as we continue to share relevant updates,” he said.

Dipo Olowookere

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

Mr Olowookere can be reached via [email protected]

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