Sterling Bank Bars Directors From Trading Shares, Risks Regulatory Sanction

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Sterling Bank has banned the company’s directors and other individuals with access to sensitive materials relating to the firm’s financials from trading its shares.

The financial institution took the decision following its inability to meet the deadline set by the capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for the submission of the Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for the year ended December 31, 2022.

The deadline to release the annual earnings report is March 31, 2023, but Sterling Bank in a statement jointly signed by Demola Adesina, public relations and Ibidapo Martins, Marketing and Communications, said it will be unable to release the financials before the deadline.

During the period of collating financials, publicly-listed companies bar their directors or persons in connection with them or the business from trading the firm’s shares.

As a result of the delay in the release of the earnings report, Sterling Bank has restricted directors of the company since January 2023.

Also, the inability of the company to release the financials before the deadline could result in regulatory clampdown, as the SEC fines companies that fail to submit their earnings within the stipulated period.

SEC had fined Ecobank, PZ Cussons and John Holt N3.2 million, N4.8 million and N3.2 million respectively for late publications.

In the statement released on Thursday, Sterling Bank said it “wishes to notify the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), its shareholders, and the investing public of the late filing of its Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for the year ended 31st December 2022.

“The Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for the year ended 31st December 2022 is currently being finalized and to this end, the Bank wishes to communicate that it will be constrained to file its AFS before the close of the statutory deadline of 31st March 2023.

“Consequently, the Bank will publish its 2022 AFS after the regulatory filing due date and upon receipt of the requisite approvals.

“In continuing compliance with the post-listing requirements of the NGX, the previously announced closed period which commenced on 1st January 2023 will continue until 24 hours after the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2022 and Unaudited Financial Statements for the period ended 31st March 2023 are released on the floor of the NGX.

“Consequently, Directors and other insiders of Sterling Bank are restricted from dealing in the securities of the Bank during the closed period.”