Both the East African Securities Regulatory Authorities (EASRA) and the East African Stock Exchanges Association (EASEA) have agreed that professional Capital Market employees will be required to take a certification course, whose curriculum the two bodies have agreed on. The certification aims to standardise qualification requirements for key market activities in the EAC such as trading, asset management, and investment banking. Since certification is being implemented at a regional level, it should be standardised and ideally recognised globally, which allows a graduate to work anywhere. In this regard, the EAC Common Market Protocol under Part D on Free Movement of Persons and Labour, provides provisions on Harmonisation and Mutual Recognition of Academic and Professional Qualifications (Article 11) and hence an advantage of the certification training is that certified staff in the EAC can work in other EAC stock exchanges.
This is also important because the EAC Common Market Protocol (CMP) provides for the Free Movement of Capital in Part G Articles 24-28. Certification is therefore also important with regard to regional integration and capital account liberalisation. The CMP provisions provide for the elimination of Restrictions on the Free Movement of Of Capital which are reflected in Annex VI (Schedule on the Removal of Restrictions on the Free Movement of Capital). The Schedule contains commitments in equity and portfolio investments, bank transactions, repatriation of proceeds from sale of assets and other transfers and payments relating to investment flows.
Formal certification procedures will also help the market players to have a clear understanding of market regulations and the requisite qualifications to perform their responsibilities. It is acknowledged that a lack of properly qualified staff and fraudulent trading of customers’ shares was blamed for the collapse of Kenyan stock brokerage firms between 2007 and 2010.
Scheduled courses under the programme include fundamental securities, market participants training, officers and directors course. The certification course was agreed upon during an EASRA consultative meeting that was held in Bujumbura, Burundi, in March however, rules on frequency of training, examinations and those to be exempted based on other courses taken are yet to be finalised.
There are, however, other programmes in the region that have been running on a voluntary basis and without certification such as those run by the Securities Industry Training Institute, which is based in Kampala.
The most outstanding achievement in terms of EAC capital markets integration so far has been the cross listing initiative that has made it possible for seven, five and three companies to cross list from the NSE to the USE, DSE and RSE respectively. A road map for the integration of the EAC capital markets has also been developed to guide the integration process in the EAC capital markets industry in light of the EAC Common Market Protocol and in preparation for the proposed East African Monetary Union.
From Business Day