SEC, EOCO flag 17 unregulated entities


…cautions public against dealing with them

The securities industry regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has warned the general public against investing in 17 unregulated entities – noting that dealings of any sort with the flagged institutions will be at their own risk.

The caution was conveyed in a joint statement issued by the Commission and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) following a collaborative investigation by both institutions into the activities of some entities, most of which operate primarily through online channels.

The SEC observed that the move is consistent with an essential obligation of the SEC Section 3(b) of Act 929, which mandates it to maintain surveillance over activities in securities to ensure orderly, fair and equitable dealings in securities. This is in addition to protecting investors by publishing at regular intervals information to the public to inform their investment decisions.

Furthermore, EOCO is similarly charged under Sections 2(a) and 3(d) of the Economic and

Organised Crime Act 2010 (Act 804) to prevent and detect financial and organised crime which may result in “financial or economic loss to the republic or any state entity or institution in which the state has a financial interest, money laundering, human trafficking, prohibited cyber activity, tax fraud, and other serious offences”.

Among the entities operating without due licence from the regulator are included: PatronPay Ghana/PetronPay Ghana; Cedi Network Ghana; Bitcash Investment; Solmax Group; Freedom Synergy; FxKash Investment; Binomo Investment; Hi Pay; Quick Earn; and Lite Earn.

The rest are Snap Finance; Faucet Wealth Investment; Opay Investment; Payme Financial Services; Passive Income; Yvonne Hanson Deals; Alpha Pay.

With the industry still reeling from effects of the clean-up exercise that saw the revocation of operating licences from some fund managers, the Commission further moved to offer reassurances to stakeholders of its commitment to sanitising the domestic securities industry. The SEC stated that it will continue working with relevant law enforcement agencies and related entities to enforce all existing securities regulations.

“Capital market operators, investors and the general public should be assured that the SEC in collaboration with all relevant law enforcement agencies is committed to ensuring rigorous enforcement of all securities laws for operators in the Capital Market, to promote the orderly growth and development of an efficient, fair and transparent securities market in which investors and the market’s integrity are protected,” the statement read in part.

This is in tandem with a key pillar highlighted in the SEC’s Capital Market Master Plan (CMMP), which promises to enhance the industry by, among other things, improving regulation, enforcement and market confidence by enhancing the SEC’s resources and powers to take early and decisive enforcement action.

“The SEC will be implementing more detailed conduct of business regulation; establishing an enhanced resolution framework within Act 929 that extends beyond broker-dealers; strengthening the asset management industry after the full resolution of toxic assets of affected fund managers; and training trustees and custodians of collective investment schemes, as well as banks that handle trust accounts,” the Master Plan highlights.

Other measures include: an overhaul of the licencing regime, particularly the licences which involve handling clients’ assets and money; implementation of the newly launched AML-CFT

guidelines; implementing risk-based supervision so as to enable the regulator better direct its resources; and the rolling-out of a regulatory sandbox to facilitate innovation.

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