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ISLAMABAD: Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Akif Saeed said on Wednesday that the SECP will introduce a cyber security framework in the wake of increasing digitalisation in the corporate and financial sectors.

The SECP has released its annual report for fiscal year 2022-23, which details its accomplishments and financial accounts.

The SECP chairman said that the framework is intended to encourage all companies to put in place measures to secure its sensitive and customer data from cyber attacks and leakages.

The SECP is also collaborating with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on the matter, and during the year, the issue of strengthening cyber security has been taken up with the board of directors of PSX, NCCPL, CDC and PMEX, to safeguard critical market infrastructure institutions against the risk of cyber attacks.

Chairman, Akif Saeed expressed satisfaction with the SECP’s focus on fostering capital formation, simplifying procedures, robust enforcement and facilitative measures aimed at ease of doing business in Pakistan.

In his message, the Chairman emphasised SECP’s core objective of ensuring transparency and fair conduct within regulated sectors. The modification and amendments to the regulatory framework were instrumental in boosting stakeholder confidence and mitigating instances of financial misconduct.

The SECP has introduced a new trading and surveillance system at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) for improving trade processing speed and managing high volumes.

The introduction of new trading and surveillance system at PSX, with the goal of improving trade processing speed and managing high volumes, is a significant achievement poised to facilitate investment and introduction of new derivative products.

A regulatory framework for online-only securities brokers was also introduced, allowing brokers to focus more on customer onboarding and trading.

Further, the regulatory framework for Centralised Gateway Portal (CGP) is approved to streamline the KYC requirements across various asset classes and improve the digital onboarding process. The development and implementation of CGP has been entrusted to the Central Depository Company of Pakistan Limited (CDC).

In the current year, the SECP placed specific emphasis on addressing complaints and regulatory gaps associated with digital lending apps. Successful collaborations of SECP with Google, PTA, and FIA resulted in the shutdown of illegal loan apps.

Further, digital lending standards were also implemented to uphold fair business practices for Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFC). Additionally, the SECP revitalised its investor education programme “Jamapunji” to raise awareness among the public about their rights as financial consumers.

The SECP’s efforts in increasing incorporation, facilitation, automation and optimizing processes, have resulted in favorable expansion in company registrations. In the year, a total of 27,746 new companies were registered, elevating the overall number of registered companies to 196,805 by June 30, 2023.

The NBFC sector also witnessed a substantial 35.9% growth in assets during the year, while the insurance sector experienced a 34% rise in revenue, primarily attributed to policy reforms aimed at enhancing policyholder protection.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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