SECP approves new regulations for licensing, operation of central depository

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In line with its efforts to strengthen the capital market and as part of subsidiary legislation under the Securities Act, 2015 (the “Act”), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has issued draft Central Depositories (Licensing and Operations) Regulations, 2015.

The regulations have also been disseminated to various prominent stakeholders for consultation purposes. Comments received on the regulations within 15 days of issuance of these regulations will be considered and evaluated.

The draft regulations provide for matters relating to licensing, minimum financial resources, duties and obligations, audit and accounts, appointment and conduct of directors and management, fit and proper criteria for directors and management and manner of outsourcing of important functions, for the central depository. Under the draft regulations, the financial resource requirements for a central depository company are proposed to be enhanced to an adequate level given the critical functions being performed by a depository.

For good governance, shareholding criteria has been specified fora central depository besides requiring the depository to mandatorily appoint one-third independent directors on its board. Among other requirements, the depository is being made responsible to have adequate arrangements for protecting the rights of beneficial owners of securities and for resolving disputes and redressal of grievances of CDS elements, beneficial owners of securities and customers.

An appropriate monitoring, inspection and enforcement mechanism for CDS elements is also required to be implemented by the central depository under the said regulations. Also segregation of core and non-core businesses has been ensured through the subject regulations.