The Karachi Stock Exchange.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has issued certificates of re-registration to Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad stock exchanges under the Stock Exchanges (Corporatization, Demutualization and Integration) Act, 2012, as an evidence of their change in status from companies limited by guarantees to public companies limited by shares.

The stock exchanges will now operate as for-profit, demutualised entities thereby ensuring a clear segregation of ownership rights from trading rights.

Brokers and Trading Rights Entitlement (TRE) Certificate Holders, who previously predominantly controlled the affairs of the stock exchanges, will as a result of this demutualization now not be able to hold majority on the board of directors and be entitled to a maximum 40 per cent voting shares of the stock exchange.

Upon receipt of the certificates of re-registration, the existing directors on the boards of the stock exchanges shall cease to hold office and be replaced by the first directors that is six directors nominated by the SECP and four broker directors nominated by each respective stock exchange.

Within 30 days of the date of demutualization each stock exchange shall elect four TRE certificate holders to replace the broker directors.

The chairmen of the boards of the exchanges shall be from among directors who do not represent the TRE Certificate Holders.

As envisaged in the Act, the next phase of the exercise will entail the sale of shares of the stock exchanges to the strategic investors, general public and financial institutions.

Participation of strategic investors shall result in making the country’s capital market more accessible for the international community while ensuring strategic alliances, influx of state of the art technologies and making the stock exchanges more competitive investment destinations.

All major stock exchanges worldwide operate in a demutualised set-up, and demutualization will bring Pakistan’s capital markets at par with other international jurisdictions like India, Malaysia, Singapore, the US, the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Turkey.

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