Interview: Iqbal Ismail, Chairman ACE Securities (pvt) Ltd.

Jan 29 - Feb 04, 2007

Chairman ACE Securities Iqbal Ismail, on the back of his vast experience and his association with the capital market, has outlined the objectives for framing regulations to streamline the stock market functioning.

In his opinion, there are three objectives of regulating the stock market, which include ensuring stability of transactions accompanied by risk management. Explaining his point of view he said the actual purpose of regulators is to ensure that the transactions - both sales and purchase - are practically transformed into deliveries.

The second objective of regulations is to ensure transparency of transactions, which is another important area and needs a keen and cautious surveillance on the part of the regulators. Unfortunately, our surveillance system is comparatively weak and needed to be modified in a way that it could effectively check any unusual movement in the market to ascertain whether the extraordinary swings in the market are genuine or manipulated. Actually a society gets what it deserves, he remarked in a philosophical manner. He elaborated his views with another remark that if the people are willing to have a neat and clean environment they would definitely get it, however, if they have some malign intentions and desire to exploit the loopholes they would have to reap their own crop, as people get back what they deserve.

The third objective of regulating the market is to protect the minority investors and of course the relationship between the company and the shareholders.

Replying to a question regarding alleged manipulation of the market by a small group of leading personalities in the stock market, Iqbal said that actually for quite sometime there is an imbalance in the strength of the people and the requirements or the demands of the market. And that imbalance has provided an opportunity to a few people having enormous resources, which they use for tilting the balance of the market in their favour.

Elaborating his version, Iqbal said the market stability is almost linked with democratic stability in society. In fact, it is the strong and independent judicial system or judiciary around which the democratic process revolves smoothly.

In this capital market, Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) plays the role of judiciary and the SECP Chairman enjoys the status of a judge and responsible to ensure implementation of regulatory rules in the market effectively. We have a great example and precedence of stock market in India. There is no harm if we import a chairman from neighboring countries like India or Sri Lanka or even from Europe to ensure objectivity of the commission. An independent, impartial and well-groomed person at the helm of regulatory affairs is of vital importance to ensure transparency in the stock business. We can even send our people say for a two-year training to acquire skills to run this sensitive business without any doubt of discrepancies in one form or the other, he remarked.

ACE Securities is on the panel of the Equity Trade Brokers of all leading local institutional investors in the country. Iqbal said we have offered equity brokerage to a range of foreign institutional investors while catering to a growing number of individual clients in the areas of Equity Brokerage, Portfolio and Investor Accounts, Financing of Stock Market Transactions, Mutual Funds, Corporate Finance Advisory, Portfolio Structuring and Management, Buyback of Shares, Restructuring, Floating, Underrating and Private Placement and Syndication.

Actually the market is confronted with the increased economic uncertainty, the accurate economic forecast assumes vital importance. ACE Securities provides a clear and constantly updated market picture to its clientele to assist them in making timely and beneficial investment decisions.

In this backdrop, core teams of dedicated professionals have been engaged by ACE Securities coupled with on-line financial and economic database to strengthen and enhance our ability to offer timely and reliable data on industry, commerce and prevailing national global economic scenario, Iqbal observed.

By tracking volatile market conditions and identifying trends, we stretch research and analysis for maximum mileage. Reinforcing with latest research we offer fixed income investors many options and opportunities to benefit from changing conditions.

ACE is looking into future through building alliances and partnerships with other financial institutions. We are developing new businesses and lines of business, locally and globally to further harness the potential of people. We provide retail trading in all major cities of the country. We are aiming at providing an environment that encourages society members to actively invest in the stock market. In this connection, we intend to establish a network of retail branches throughout the country. ACE is also looking for developing outlets for the investors and traders who wish to do trade from their homes and offices through online trading. We also provide our clients a variety of financial instruments to cater to their diverse needs to ensure a secured future, he remarked.