The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Rev. Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, has expressed worry over the increasing number of Ghanaians who continue to fall victim to Ponzi schemes after the intensive education and clean-up of the financial system.
Describing people behind such Ponzi schemes as “unscrupulous elements”, he said the SEC was intensifying its collaboration with the law enforcement agencies as part of measures to rid the system of such people.
He said a strong relationship between the SEC and the law enforcement agencies would help protect investors and ensure the integrity of the securities market in Ghana.
As part of activities to strengthen the cooperation between the SEC and the law enforcement agencies, it held an engagement with selected officials of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) in Accra yesterday.
An investment fraud that pays existing investors with funds collected from new investors is known as a Ponzi scheme.
Unlike proper investments that use the funds to invest in government treasuries and other viable investments, Ponzi scheme organisers often promise to invest people’s money and generate high returns with little or no risk.
With little or no legitimate earnings, Ponzi schemes require a constant flow of new money to survive.
Speaking at the opening of the engagement programme, on the theme: “The role of the SEC in the capital market”, Rev. Tetteh said following the clean-up of the financial market, “we have taken actions and initiated a number of measures to increase investor confidence in the securities market”.
One of the measures, he said, was the engagement with a number of stakeholders, including the law enforcement agencies and the investing public.
He said during such engagements, which would be an annual event, the commission would explain the various elements of the securities market that it regulated and the kind of operators in the markets.
The platform, he said, would also be used to explain how the commission operated, the regulatory tools and legal instruments that it used and those that the law enforcement agencies needed when conducting investigations or engaging with the commission.
Rev. Tetteh also hinted that the commission had digitalised its operations to make them more efficient.
He explained that the digitalisation programme by the SEC, which comes after the clean-up of the financial industry, was aimed at making the submission of information by prospecting and existing operators easy for processing.
He said through digitalisation, information could be submitted on a timely basis, while the commission would be able to undertake more analytical work.
Other initiatives undertaken by the SEC, Rev. Tetteh said, included the setting up of a risk-based supervision framework that would help monitor emerging markets.
The risk-based supervision framework, he explained, was a new model which regulators around the world were implementing to safeguard securities markets.
Rev. Tetteh said the SEC had also issued guidelines which focused on improving corporate governance, “which was one of the challenges of the companies that ran into difficulties. The guidelines touch on the composition of the board to ensure that the independence of the board is guaranteed”.
The SEC, Rev. Tetteh indicated, had also issued new licensing requirements, particularly at the entry level for market operators, such as increasing the minimum capital requirement and approval of directors by the commission before they were appointed as directors of companies that operated in the securities market.
The Deputy Director-General of the CID, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr. Frederick Kwadwo Agyei, pledged the commitment of the police to support the SEC to investigate and prosecute people who committed investment fraud.
A Deputy Executive Director in charge of Monitoring and Intelligence at EOCO, Mrs. Aba Jacqueline Opoku, said the success of the securities market depended on law enforcement agencies carrying out their mandate efficiently.
She said such agencies had a role to play by disseminating information to educate the public and guide public activities in the investment sector.