Interview: Nezha Hayat

To what extent does the current regulator differ from its predecessor?

NEZHA HAYAT: The creation of the AMMC is the result of a holistic and comprehensive effort to undertake a deep reform of capital markets in Morocco, and the willingness to create an independent capital market authority in line with international best practices and standards, in particular with the International Organisation of Securities Commissions’ standards and principals.

This shift towards an independent authority with extended supervisory scope and enforcement powers was aimed at strengthening Moroccan capital markets by substantially reinforcing their role in financing the economy, and contribute to enhancing its positioning as an attractive regional financial marketplace. While the protection of investors remains the main mission of the authority, capital markets continue to evolve into a more complex environment and so call for a more holistic and comprehensive regulatory approach, with the adoption of better tools and mechanisms for the apprehension of risks. In that regard, the authority’s responsibilities have been widely extended in terms of financial instruments, markets and regulated activities. As for institutional governance, the authority saw both its governance structure and autonomy of action improved, allowing the AMMC to enjoy increasing independence vis-à-vis policy makers and political influences.

How will the enforcement committee bring further transparency to the capital markets?

HAYAT: The sanctions board is an essential part of the new regulatory approach. It is an autonomous committee, chaired by a judge and composed of two other highly qualified members. The creation of this committee was driven by the willingness to move towards international practices, and to strengthen the transparency of the processes related to enforcement and sanctions. This board will allow the authority to diligently address cases where there are violations of rules and regulations, other filed investigations on claims, or suspicious market behaviours, and when relevant, to propose adequate sanctions or transfer the case to the courts. Such decisions are systematically made public by the AMMC to ensure that the markets, as well as the general public, are well informed in a timely manner.

In that regard, transparency is central to the AMMC’s approach. The authority undertakes all necessary actions to ensure that the information disclosed in markets is the most accurate, genuine and complete, and is available to the public in a timely manner. In order to promote market transparency and fairness, the availability of comprehensive and relevant information – with easier access to such information by the public – is another key objective of the authority. This is a continuous and challenging concern we share with regulators around the world.

What are the key goals of the new institution?

HAYAT: In conjunction with its main mission of ensuring that investors are protected and their savings are guarded – which remains at the heart of the authority’s concerns, and which it carries out through the reinforcement of transparency and issuers’ information disclosure requirements as well as enforcement mechanisms – the AMMC aims to strengthen its presence in the marketplace through a number of actions aimed at achieving different objectives. Most importantly, we aim to provide the stimulus for the development of capital markets by working together with all market stakeholders, relevant public authorities and policy makers to develop and implement new products and activities and thus contribute to enhancing the markets’ attractiveness, and better meet the specific needs for the financing of companies and project owners.