Shareholders of Stanbic IBTC Holdings have appealed to the Federal Government to look into the activities of the Financial Reporting Council in order to forestall more damage to the operations of businesses and the larger economy.
According to Boniface Okezie, president of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, who addressed a press conference on the recent altercation between FRC and Stanbic IBTC Bank, shareholders are shocked by the actions of the FRC which have not followed procedure as outlined in the regulations.
In a case where a corporate body disagrees with FRC’s interpretation of its accounts, said Okezie, FRC ought to go to court according to Regulation 27 of the Directorate of Inspection and Monitoring Guidelines Regulations. “Instead, the FRC took to the media to make several questionable allegations against a corporate body.”
Expressing shock and disappointment at the approach deployed by FRC, Okezie stated that “we would have expected FRC to recognize that circumspection ought to be its guiding standard.” He added that the role of the FRC is to help enhance the quality of financial reporting in Nigeria adding that the “FRC is not a regulator of banks neither is it a regulator of the capital market.”
The FRC, he added, ought to have recognized the implication of their reckless pronouncement in an unsophisticated capital market as it could lead to panic among investors. “Unfortunately, this recklessness has already made this happen as we have recorded losses in our share price over the last two days on account of the misguided actions of the FRC.”
Affirming confidence in the leadership of the Board and Management of Stanbic IBTC, Okezie stated that “We have always commended the transparency and commitment by the Board to conduct business only in line with world class corporate governance principles.
It is on account of this that Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC is the only bank in Nigeria that has an AAA Fitch rating.” He added that shareholders support the bid to expand the operations of the bank as this would “guarantee optimal returns on our investment.”
Again expressing disappointment at the manner in which FRC is executing what it believes is its mandate, Okezie observed that FRC is currently “operating without the necessary oversight to moderate its excesses.” He called on President Buhari to urgently constitute a Board for the FRC. “Such a Board will exert control and limit the excesses of the FRC which is currently run as a one-man-show by its Executive Secretary.”
Okezie also called on the President “to deploy a tested technocrat to head the Ministry of Trade and Investment,” adding that “this minister will also exert a controlling influence on the activities of the FRC and help to ensure that good intentions of government are not thwarted by the incompetence and lack of exposure of publicity-seeking and egocentric professionals.”
He called on all of the bank’s shareholders to, “in the collective interest of our overall investment in the bank, seek internal mechanisms to resolve any differences rather than resort to the use of manipulative regulators.”