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Bangladesh’s bourses navigate headwinds and achieve advances

Professor Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam makes his mark as BSECchairman with innovative deeds

by tbhad

A linkage between the academia and the capital market has proved productive as is evident from changes tangible on the bourses in Bangladesh. From infrastructure upgrade to legal reform to a cleanup of the trading floor from accumulated problems–in all major realms have there been touches of reformative strokes.

However, difficulties are not all over–neither here nor elsewhere over the world–specifically because of economic volatility under the hangover of all-upsetting pandemic and proxy wars in lockstep with the coronavirus invasion. So, the capital market here is navigating a rough see and achieving advances in aid to the nation’s socioeconomic uplift on a mapped-out trajectory leading to a higher status.

At this crossroads, the capital market, billed as the fulcrum of industrial development through sourcing long-term investment, needed a helmsman conversant in academic rules and tricks of the trade on the floor of transitions.

Prof Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam fills the needs gap, building a bridge between academia and actuation in securities governance, say analysts in trading circles. With him as chairman the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has made such headway in the realms of financial governance and market regulation.

Since 2020 till 2024, BSEC has navigated challenges and emerged as a beacon of progress, fostering growth and stability on the capital market of Bangladesh. In May 2020, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina picked Professor Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam as the chairman of the securities regulatory body for a four-year term. And he proved his worth through patiently doing the spadework for giving a nudge to the market with a slew of measures.

To start with, Professor Shibli Rubayat accelerated the approval process for initial public offerings or IPOs to feed fresh securities into the securities-hungry bourses. Then he successfully petitioned the Prime Minister for waiving the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) surcharge on the United Airways with the aim of reviving the airline in November 2022. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promptly approved the request, instructing the relevant ministry to initiate necessary actions.

He moves on outlining plans to restructure the boards of select nonbank financial institutions for management overhaul.

His spheres of role play in capital-market administration widens with the assumption of the responsibility of Vice-Chair of the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions.

 In view of resource constraints, Professor Islam admitted the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission’s inability to effectively monitor all the listed companies.  Staffing shortages stood in the way. To overcome this shortcoming, he launched an alternative trading board for companies not listed on the stock exchanges and announced forthcoming plans to digitize the commission’s services.

Furthermore, in order to infuse dynamism in stocks trading, he pledged to lift floor prices on the stock exchange once market conditions improved. In an effort to boost foreign investment, Mr Shibli Rubayat organized a road show in the United States to project investment opportunities in Bangladesh.

 Strengthening regulatory frameworks under Professor Shibli’s guidance, BSEC has meticulously worked on enhancing regulatory supervision to ensure transparency, accountability, and investor protection,” says one official of the capital-market watchdog.

Furthermore, stringent measures were implemented to combat market manipulation, insider trading, and fraudulent acts–the evils that had once spelt woes for investors. Such actions helped in instilling trust in investors and stakeholders, which spurred a fresh start.

Now comes market-development drive

The BSEC has been instrumental in fostering market-development initiatives aimed at expanding the investor base and diversifying financial products. Efforts to introduce innovative investment instruments, such as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), are reported to have injected dynamism into the capital market, attracting both domestic and foreign investors.

Embracing technological advances in trade promotion 

Recognizing the pivotal role of technology in modernizing financial systems in the fast-changing milieus, BSEC, under Professor Shibli’s stewardship, has espoused technological advancements to streamline operations and enhance

market efficiency. Initiatives like the implementation of automated trading systems and online trading platforms have facilitated smoother transactions while reducing operational risks.

Strengthening corporate governance

The securities regulator has prioritized the enhancement of corporate- governance practices to foster sustainable business growth and mitigate risks associated with mismanagement and malpractices. “Stringent guidelines and monitoring mechanisms have been put in place to ensure compliance with ethical standards and best practices, thus safeguarding the interests of shareholders and promoting long-term value creation,” says the aforesaid BSEC official.

Investor education and awareness building

The business-administration academic’s tenure as securities regulator witnessed a concerted effort towards educating investors and awareness programmes aimed at empowering them with knowledge and insights into financial markets so they could make informed decision on putting their money in stocks that pay dividends. Seminars, workshops, and educational campaigns were organized to impart financial literacy and promote informed decision-making among investors, thereby reducing vulnerabilities to fraudulent schemes and market volatility.

Strengthening international collaboration

Attuned to the trend of globalization, BSEC has actively engaged in fostering international collaborations and partnerships to leverage global expertise and best practices in regulatory frameworks and market- development strategies. Bilateral agreements and mutual cooperation in initiatives have facilitated knowledge exchange and capacity-building efforts, positioning Bangladesh’s capital market on a trajectory of sustainable growth and integration with global financial markets.

A resume on navigating challenges with resilience

It goes without saying that, throughout his tenure, the BSEC, under Professor Shibli’s astute leadership, has demonstrated resilience in navigating a trying time fraught with challenges, including economic uncertainties, global-market volatilities, and the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Proactive measures were undertaken to ensure market stability, liquidity support, and regulatory flexibility, thereby mitigating adversities and bolstering investor confidence.

The tenure of Professor Shibli Rubayat as Chairman of the Securities Commission is seen as resplendent in significant strides towards giving a fillip to market integrity, investor protection, and sustainable growth. His visionary leadership, coupled with the collective efforts of the regulatory body, has positioned Bangladesh’s capital market as a dynamic and resilient engine of economic prosperity, poised for continued advancement in the years ahead, it is stated by a host of admirers of the hard taskmaster at the helm of gaming on bets by hard-to-reign players.

Source: dailypeopleslifebd

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