ISLAMABAD - Improvement in the macroeconomic environment of the country has led to increased incorporation of companies in FY2017, as the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) incorporated 8,286 companies in FY2017 compared to 6,200 companies in FY2016.

The incorporation of companies has seen tremendous increase of 109.24 percent growth during 2013-2017. This trend continued during current fiscal year as Q1 FY2018 has seen 64 percent growth compared to the corresponding quarter last year. This is reflective of the reforms undertaken by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. These facts were placed before the SECP Policy Board which met here on Tuesday to approve the SECP's annual report and audited annual accounts for the financial year 2016-17. The SEC Policy Board Chairman and Federal Finance Secretary Shahid Mahmood chaired the meeting.

The board also viewed with satisfaction the fact that foreign investment was reported in 562 new companies, including 33 from China. This reflects that the CPEC factor has started contributing to growth. The board also observed that the SECP's audited annual accounts for FY2016-17 show impressive financial soundness of the regulatory body, evident from the 14 percent year-on-year growth in the SECP's financial strength.

In addition to the strong financial performance, the SECP carried forward its legislative reforms in the last few years, in line with the financial reform agenda of the government.

The SECP was able to get 9 pieces of primary legislations passed by the parliament, including the Securities Act, the Futures Act, the Companies Act, the SECP Amendment Act etc, while 5 new bills have been proposed. The meeting was also informed that SECP successfully processed the approval/amendment in over 80 secondary rules/regulations under laws administered by it.

The meeting noted that the SECP excelled by creating an enabling business environment through a series of reform measures that significantly improved the overall business climate in the country. As a direct consequence of the above measures a growth of 34 percent in the rate of corporatisation, significant and broad-based growth in the specialised companies, including asset management and microfinance areas, and finally Pakistan's upgrade from a frontier market to the emerging market category under the MSCI's Emerging Markets Index in 2017 after a gap of nine years were achieved.

The finance secretary emphasized to continue to build upon these achievements and its facilitation based commitment to corporatisation and economic growth through a combination of promoting ease of doing business and nurturing investor's confidence.

The board hoped SECP shall also continue with its sector base reform agenda to ensure adequate growth in securities market, corporatisation, insurance and specialised companies' arenas so that they can meaningfully supplement the development of Pakistan's economy by way of deepening the debt capital markets.