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Panel that could guide market regulator through crises remains dormant

Formed in 2011, it held a meeting only once

MOHAMMAD MUFAZZAL | March 28, 2023 00:00:00

The 2010 stock market debacle prompted the securities regulator to form a "high profile" advisory committee to suggest changes in policies, whenever needed, to help develop the country's capital market.

The committee sat only once in 2014 after its formation in March 2011. The market has been through many crises since then but the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has never convened a meeting for the second time.

Such advisory bodies play an active role in other countries, such as India and the US, on a regular basis.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has separate committees to work on different investment areas, mutual funds and foreign portfolio investment (FPI) for example.

The SEBI restructured its advisory committee on mutual funds in June 2022. It is mandated to assist SEBI on issues related to regulation and growth of the mutual fund industry.

US Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) investment advisory committee holds meetings from time to time to discuss issues crucial for investors and markets.

The advisory body formed by the BSEC had members from different work areas but with expertise in the capital market, said Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), who is a member of the committee.

The BSEC should dissolve the committee and form a new body that will guide it though challenging situations, he added.

The Financial Express talked to several members of the committee but most of them could not recall what had been discussed in the first meeting back then.

Dr. Zaidi Sattar, chairman of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) and a member of the panel, said he had emphasized the need for a strong regulatory regime.

"I also suggested proper audit of the listed companies by credible firms to restore confidence of retail investors," he said.

Committee with dead member

Meanwhile, a member of the committee, former editor and founder of The Financial Express Moazzem Hossain passed away in August 2018. According to the BSEC website, he is still a member of the advisory committee.

The committee is not operational, said BSEC commissioner Dr. Shaikh Shamsuddin Ahmed, as many other members are no longer in the positions where they were at the time of the committee formation.

"We are now working to form a new committee and have collected names of some eligible people. A new committee will be formed soon," he added.

As per the terms of reference (ToR), the committee could suggest policies and programmes to protect the interest of investors. It could also give opinions on any other matter referred to by the securities regulator.

Apart from the committee members, an institution or individual with special knowledge about the matter in hand could be invited to a meeting.

Members of the still existing advisory committee are BSEC chairman and its members, one representative of Bank and Financial Institutions Division, one deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank, president of FBCCI, president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh, president of the Bangladesh Association of Publicly Listed Companies, president of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh, presidents of Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges, chairman of Central Depository Bangladesh Ltd, managing director of the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh, president of the Bangladesh Association of Banks, and the president of Bangladesh Insurance Association.

Dr. Mustafizur Rahman and Dr. Zaidi Sattar are also in the committee.

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