As plans are concluded for the first virtual Annual Business Luncheon of the Capital Market Solicitors Association (CMSA), which holds tomorrow Tuesday, September 15, 2020, the Chair of the 2020 Planning Committee and Partner, Corporate Finance/Business Advisory Group, at George Etomi & Partners, EFEOMO OLOTU in this interview, speaks about the CMSA flagship event and highlights of this year’s outing.

 How are preparations for the forthcoming Luncheon?

The CMSA Annual Business Luncheon is the highlight of every Member’s calendar and given the social gathering restrictions and health and safety measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the responsibility of planning and coordinating the business luncheon has been interesting, to say the least. I am especially thankful to my committee members for their dedication, innovation and immense capabilities, despite the current circumstances, as only teamwork makes the dream work.

What do you consider the essentials of a Capital Market Solicitor?

Every capital market deals with intangible instruments, which makes it both complex and sophisticated. Therefore, the most essential quality of a Capital Market Solicitor is complete knowledge of the operations, legal and regulatory framework, and peculiarities of the capital market in its jurisdiction. This enables the Solicitor to provide the client with the appropriate legal advisory services regarding any capital market transaction.

What sort of collaborations exist between the CMSA and capital market regulators? And how has it developed the market over the years?

The CMSA actively collaborates with capital market regulators in the drafting and/or review of rules and regulations applicable to the market.

An example is where the leadership of the CMSA attends regularly held meetings of the Capital Market Committee (CMC). The CMC is an industry-wide committee comprising members of the Commission, representatives of capital market operators and trade groups, and other stakeholders. At these meetings, very important issues facing the capital market and other policy matters are discussed. The CMSA, at these meetings, also brings to the fore issues that affect solicitors in the capital market. These discussions are taken into consideration in the rules and regulations that are later presented to the capital market for comments.

The CMSA also receives draft rules and regulations from capital market regulators and sends these to its members for their input and opinions. This feedback is collated and reviewed by the CMSA executives and sent to the applicable regulator, and I must say that these engagements have helped in addressing legal concerns in the industry.

What is the nature of the CMSA Annual Business Luncheons and how are these conferences driven?

The Annual Business Luncheon targets solicitors, regulators, capital market operators, investors, and other sector participants. Each Business Luncheon has a theme, carefully selected to examine topical issues affecting the Nigerian capital market, to promote the growth, development, and expansion of the market in line with the global economy and international best practices.

How does the chosen theme for each year drive participation? Are your participants largely the same every year or would you say the audience is driven either by the theme, the sub-topics, or the selected panel at each conference?

Topical issues are always chosen by the Association as the theme for the event. Every year has a different theme, depending on what is trending in the capital market space. The theme for this year is ‘Financial opportunities in the Capital Markets – An Aid to Improving the Nigerian Healthcare Sector”. Currently, we cannot ignore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and—closer to home—the Nigerian healthcare sector, which is why this year’s Event is so themed.

Participants differ every year based on the theme. For instance, we can expect more people from the health and medical field and representing the pharmaceutical industry at this year’s Event because the theme concerns the medical value chain. It is imperative that the voices of critical stakeholders in the medical field are heard when important discussions take place and as such, panelists have been carefully selected to reflect this critical objective.

What sort of engagement should we look forward to, from the line-up speakers and panellists at this event?

Attendees should expect high-value content which touches on practical solutions to our ailing healthcare sector and what the capital market can do in healthcare sector recovery. Strategies in easy capital access which solve a majority of the sector’s problems would be at the fore of the discussions.

You can expect to see the Director General of the apex regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Lamido Yuguda, who would be giving the Opening Remarks. The Keynote Speech would be given by Mr. Bode Agusto, the Chairman of the Advisory Board of First Cardiology Consultants and the Founding Managing Director of Agusto & Co. 

The discussion sessions contain two segments which tackle, on the one hand, the Health Practitioners’ Perspective and, on the other, the Financial, Legal & Regulatory Perspective in improving the health sector. The planning committee curated a wide range of Panelists, ranging from the medical and pharmaceutical fields, HMOs, insurance companies, securities exchanges, investment firms and capital market solicitors, with vast knowledge and expertise in the pertinent areas. The Event promises to be illuminating and knowledge-packed.

How does the CMSA achieve its objectives with its annual business luncheons?

The CMSA is concerned with developing the legal and regulatory framework within which the capital market operates and the Annual Business Luncheon serves as one of the avenues through which we meet this objective. We ensure that the regulators and market participants are in attendance of the Event. This creates a forum within which a conversation can be had between all Parties in order to influence policy and legislation, thereby fostering the growth and development of the capital market space.

What would count as success for you after this event?

The holding of the event alone is a success. However, if we are able to record high attendee participation, we are fully confident that the takeaway of the Nigerian capital market’s capacity to revitalize the declining Nigerian healthcare sector can shape sector recovery and improve the healthcare legal and regulatory framework, especially in response to the pandemic and for the future.  This satisfies the main objective of the CMSA, which is policy and advocacy for the advancement of the Nigerian capital market and the creation of increased opportunities for Members of the Association.

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