ISLAMABAD -  The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has directed the companies to maintain functional website that is an effective tool for dissemination of material information to the public.

Companies are not adhering to directives of the SECP in letter and spirit despite lapse of considerable time. Therefore, the SECP is rigorously seeking compliance by companies by issuing notices and initiating proceedings against defaulting companies. During the year ending June 2016, proceedings against 36 companies were initiated and concluded by issuing 28 orders.

Since July 2016, 26 show-cause notices have been issued to defaulting companies and 11 orders have been issued. It is also noted with concern that companies are omitting or disclosing partial/distorted information regarding board of directors, financial statements and investor complaint mechanism.

This practice defeats the very purpose of timely, accessible and legible disclosure of information on the website. One of the key objectives of Companies Ordinance, 2016, is to encourage use of technological tools. The 2016 ordinance requires companies to display information, notices and financial statements on website.

Moreover, for shareholders, the main source for obtaining quarterly results is now through website of companies hence functional website is even more imperative than it was in the past.

Therefore, while it is re-emphasised to timely place all announcements/notices, financial statements for dissemination purposes, the investor complaints' resolution and query mechanism plays a pivotal role in interaction with all stakeholders specially shareholders. Companies are therefore encouraged to give all relevant information in addition to that prescribed under the SECP's directives for facilitation of stakeholders.

The SECP, itself, has also launched a bilingual website, in Urdu and English. The focus of all the directives of SECP since 2014, are not just confined to display of information rather companies can use the website for synergising with investors, both current and prospective. The SECP, through its directives, anticipates clarity, accessibility, facilitation and uniformity in information disclosed on the website.