THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) has urged media outlets to desist from availing their platforms to individuals or groups of persons who engage in unlicensed financial transactions.
The practice of enticing unsuspecting members of the public through the media, with promises of maximum returns on investment, after registration with initial capital, should not be encouraged by the media, said Caliis Badoo, Head of Legal Department at SEC.
“Very unsuspecting people within the regions especially, are not abreast with information and so they fall for it, and people, we all know, want money,” he said.
Speaking at a forum to educate journalists on the capital market, Mr. Badoo indicated that the law mandates the media to protect the consumers of financial services.
According to section 144(1) of the Securities Industry Act 2016, (Act 929), non-licensed persons shall not publish or cause to be published an advertisement in connection with the conduct of activity or provision of a service that requires a license, approval, authorisation or registration under the Act.
Meanwhile, a licensee under the same act shall not publish or cause to be published an advertisement in connection with the conduct of activity or provision of a service which requires a license, approval, authorisation, or registration under this Act in a manner that is unclear, false or misleading in any material particular.
Regulations 39-44 of Legislative Instrument (LI) 1728 clearly stipulates that the offering applies to advertisements issued to the public, adverts offering the services of a licensee, offering to sell or purchase securities and all types of adverts, notices, circulars, photographs, films, videos, sound broadcasting, television, and websites or in any other manner.
He explained that the law provides a general principle concerning advertisement where there have to be the highest standards of accuracy, good faith, clear language, and describing clearly the nature of the investment or service offered.
Beyond issuing warnings to the culprits, the commission, he stated, would not relent on invoking its power of prosecution to deal with such persons who are liable to 250 to 500 penalty units or two to three years in prison.
Also present at the forum was the Director-General of SEC, Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, who underscored the need for the investing public to understand the intricacies of the capital market in order to make informed investment decisions.
He has, however, appealed to the media to help intensify public education on the capital market with the intention of protecting the investor.
“Let’s make sure that we put out correct or accurate information in order to keep the market well informed,” he said.