Abdul Rahim Ahmad
Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) conducted an online survey to obtain feedback about its services delivery and to seek out suggestions from its stakeholders. Though an overwhelming majority shared their satisfaction with SECP’s services, a number of people suggested swift deployment of digital technology for ease of doing business, post-compliance requirements and supporting startups.
Hence, in line with government’s policy vision to improve its citizens’ quality of life and economic well-being, SECP has embarked on a digital transformation journey to transform as a role-model regulator through end-to-end automation, digitization, transparent and fairness, while delivering a world-class experience to its stakeholders. The SECP’s project for end-to-end digital transformation and automation is called “Leading Efficiency through Automation Prowess (LEAP)”. SECP’s digital transformation would improve service quality, promote transparency and enable interaction for its customers.
SECP strongly believes in adoption of emerging digital technologies and innovative applications to enable cross-sector socio-economic development and transformation of economic activities, governance models, social interaction, and achievement of sustainable development goals. In line with the value feedback received, SECP is focused on using innovative technologies to respond to needs of users. The measures include exclusive web portal for Startups, digital platform for compliance of AML regulations, introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based Chatbox to provide citizens real-time information and swift company incorporation through eService.
The SECP to facilitate start-ups and new entrepreneurs across Pakistan, is developing a dedicated portal for startups in Pakistan. The exclusive portal will provide easy and simple registration to startups and offer simple post registration compliance processes. The Startups portal will be a gateway to information and collaboration hub, for the facilitation and uplifting of the current and future entrepreneurs.
Moreover, to make financial institutions compliance with FATF recommendations simple and easy, SECP has developed a digital platform to disseminate the notifications issued under SRO 245 by provincial authorities, NACTA and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to financial institutions. Financial Institutions (FIs) can also submit compliance reports to SECP’s AML Regulations through this digital platform. The digital dispensation has improved the response time, quality of compliance and provision of information for any further actions.
Moreover, to effetely address citizen’s complaints and queries and provide real-time information, SECP is in process of implementing a Chatbot. This Chatbox will have ability to converse both in Urdu (roman and classic scripts) and English languages. It will allow integration with messaging channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Mobile apps. The Chatbot will include Natural Language Processing engine, and the intelligence of system will be powered by Machine Learning.
The SECP, by upgrading its eService, has made companies registration one-step procedure. The earlier slightly lengthy procedures of name reservation, incorporation application, appointment of Chief Executive Officer merged into a single digital application. This made incorporation simple and reduced processing duration to only four-hours. Moreover, the post incorporation compliance with regulatory framework has made easy and cost effective.
The digital transformation is now a public sector imperative. Today’s citizens expect public services to be as personalized and responsive as the services they get from the private sector. Technology driven business environments are both catalysts for economic growth and social development and enables businesses carry out operations at reduced costs. Automation enhances the level of public trust in government.
(The writer is head of Information System and Technology and Chief Information Security Officer at SECP)