Insurance World

Ghana: Cleanup: Insurance, Security sectors next – SEC

Ghana’s Insurance and securities sectors are soon billed to be taken to the cleaners just as what happened to the financial sector.

Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), disclosed this at Ghana Re’s 10th Cedant Awards on Friday in Accra.

Delivering a speech on “the impact of standardization and supervision on the financial sector in Ghana”, he stated: “All the sectors have undergone various reforms and are still going through shake-ups as the present or latest clean-up of the banking sector alludes. We understand that insurance is also going to follow suit, so is the securities sector.

“Because of the sectors’ separate development path, each is placed under separate regulatory agencies to oversee their respective developments and regulation. This has given rise to intense debate as to whether we should continue to follow our separate regulatory and development paths or whether it is time to converge.”

Contagious risks

He continued that the increasing inter-connectivity amongst and between the four sectors in the financial industry – Banking and the Money Market; Insurance; Pensions and Securities or the Capital Market – has brought along contagious risks if not systemic risks that ought to be dealt with collectively.

“For-instance, the present crisis in the banking sector starkly revealed that inter-connectivity. The Asset Management segment of the Securities Industry has been impacted negatively in view of the fact that most asset managers executed their fixed income mandates by placing huge amount of funds in the time deposits of affected banks, savings and loans and microfinance institutions under the supervision of Bank of Ghana.

Risk of impairment

He said “the revocation of licence of such institutions by the Central Bank has put investors’ funds under serious risk of impairment. It is conceivable that Pension Funds and Insurance premiums placed with some of such financial institutions were not unaffected. This implies that if regulators in the industry were to share information on their respective regulated institutions, some of this counter-party risk defaults could have been better managed.”

Review

Rev Ogbarmey-Tetteh said the call and demand for a rethink of Ghana’s financial regulatory architecture or standardization has not come as a result of the current crisis in the banking sector and its effect on the other sectors, but also the increasing crisscrossing of business formations across the sectors is also calling for a regulatory review.

“For instance, banks have entered into securities, insurance and pension space. Some insurance companies are also doing the same. Very soon, securities companies may also enter into other financial space creating seamless competition across the industry. Such developments are posing regulatory challenges and risks that have to be mitigated in a way amongst the regulators. We cannot stop this development since it is healthy for the real economy.

Mortgage

“As a nation, we have not been very successful in resolving housing or mortgage finance and agriculture finance. This is because these two important areas are deemed to be of high risk to financiers. We have over the years attempted to use short-term money market funds from the banking sector to finance mortgages. Obviously such a funding scenario is bound to induce serious asset-liability mismatch and thereby liquidity risk to the funding institutions. The only way this can be corrected is the intervention and deployment of patient capital through the capital market by insurance firms and pension funds.”

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