IN a move to impact positively on the Nigerian financial market and entire economy, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria, ASHON, has moved for the abolition of contract stamp duty in the nation’s capital market as well as a new regime of fees for stockbrokers. The association has also initiated new measures to reposition its advocacy roles for enhanced brand positioning Addressing stockbrokers at ASHON’s 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, the chairman of the Association, Chief Patrick Ezeagu, explained that the association had come of age and some initiatives have been put in place to strengthen its advocacy functions in line with the operational philosophy. According to him, ASHON has also successfully handled the tension raised by the pressure mounted on the members by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS and NIPOST with regards to the payment of contract stamp duty. “We are advocating for the abolition of contract stamp in our market and negotiating a new regime of fees for brokers and also discussing Back Office and Cloud hosting. We shall engage with the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, and other third parties in the proposed electronic Initial Public Offer, e-IPO platform, harmonization of fees for ancillary services, and formation of competency framework for the capital market and engage the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC on the use of Biometric Verification Number, BVN as an acceptable and adequate means of Know Your Customer, KYC, Sub-broker model, dwindling income of our members and the preponderance of compulsory courses, penalties and charges. “We shall engage and sign a Service Level Agreement with NIBSS to deliver a payment system (E-Bills Pay) that will enable seamless payment to and from our members’ customers. We are in discussion with the NSE and SEC on the introduction of a common insurance product to replace the current Fidelity Bond and provide other benefits to our members.” Ezeagu said. He further noted that ASHON has recruited the Executive Secretary, Mr Athan Ogbozor to run the secretariat as part of the strategic plan to leverage on human capital to drive the new initiatives which are also designed to enhance service delivery to the members. According to him, ASHON recruited the Executive Secretary, Mr Athan Ogbozor to run the secretariat as part of the strategic plan to leverage on human capital to drive the new initiatives which are also designed to enhance service delivery to the members. Ezeagu identified some of the initiatives as new recruitment of strategic staff, registration with the SEC as a trade group, promotion of Commodities and Futures Exchange , negotiation of members’ interest on the on-going demutualization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and strengthening relationship with other trading platforms to expand income generation of the members beyond the Nigerian Stock Exchange . ” We have recruited an Executive Secretary and Research Officer to effectively operationalize the decision of Executive Members in the service to our members. We have formally registered our Association as a Trade Group with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We are also working towards providing alternative or widening the scope of income generating activities for our members outside the Nigerian Stock Exchange and NASD platform by promoting Commodities and Futures Exchange which was accelerated by a successful completion of a private placement exercise and submission of application for registration of the Exchange to SEC. “We’ve also had a successful election into the Council of the NSE which held during the year. Our representation on the Demutualization Advisory Council was strengthened and has resulted in the favourable negotiation of members’ interest in the demutualized Exchange” Ezeagu noted.