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ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has unearthed massive violations of the rules and regulations during inspections and investigations of the listed companies during the last two years.

The SECP officials told media at the SECP Headquarters, here on Wednesday that in order to strengthen surveillance and monitoring of corporate sector, department conducted number of inspections and investigations of listed companies during the year.

Grave violations identified included syphoning of assets by directors, unauthorised lease of entire undertaking/factory, benefiting the directors and related parties at the cost of shareholders of listed companies, depriving shareholders of reasonable return, unauthorised sale/misappropriation of significant assets, misstatement in financial statements, non-maintenance of proper books of accounts etc.

They said the Corporate Supervision Department was involved in active surveillance and monitoring of listed companies and their associated undertakings with respect to their compliance with applicable legal regulatory framework in order to safeguard interest of minority shareholders and other stakeholders.

During the year 2020, 158 annual audited financial statements of listed companies and their associated undertakings having inter-company transactions were examined. Where warranted, explanations were sought to check compliance of various provisions and administered laws and proceedings were initiated in cases of identified violations.

“The driving force behind this initiative was to instill discipline and ensure a level-playing field; the SECP has placed a special focus on removing arbitrariness by the introduction of a penalty grid along with clearly articulated mitigating and aggravating circumstances that ensure objective enforcement actions. Furthermore, to ensure consistent application of law across all its regulated sectors, the adjudication function was simultaneously centralised.

These measures have not only ensured uniformity in proceedings but also resulted in complete segregation of investigations from adjudication, thus, enabling independent and unbiased conclusions. While these are early days for the Division, the results have been encouraging in terms of the magnitude of cases handled as well as the reduced turnaround time,” senior SECP officials said.

The SECP having cognisance of this responsibility has a dedicated department entrusted with the task of offsite supervision of the insurance sector. The offsite supervision department monitors and examines all the returns filed by the insurers and insurance brokers under the applicable regulatory framework.

The onsite inspection of the regulated insurance entities is conducted regularly in accordance with the annual inspection plan developed by the SECP. The plan is developed on the basis of indicators of financial strength, compliance level, business performance, and such other risk assessment criteria, they added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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