Retail investors have demanded efficient and honest people – with specialised professional knowledge of the capital market – be hired as part of a restructuring of the securities regulator.
In a letter sent to the Ministry of Planning on Thursday, the Bangladesh Capital Market Investors' Association placed their 13-point demand to help the capital market grow.
"The kind of people we need to run the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission [BSEC] must understand the specificities of the capital market. They also need honesty, and strengths to ignore undue pressures," AKM Mizanur Rashid Chowdhury, president of the forum told The Business Standard.
"We need a regulator who will entertain investors – not issuers and manipulators," he added.
His association's letter also said BSEC failed to protect investors' interests. It allowed for the poor issuance of primary and right shares over years – hurting the capital market – and has been tarnishing many of the current government's achievements.
"We also have noticed a serious lack of coordination among capital-market related institutions who merely blame each other in times of crisis," said the association.
The association stated that these are the reasons why the capital market is lagging behind, despite a series of interventions by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The Bangladesh Capital Market Investors' Association – a forum of individual investors – also demanded multinationals like Unilever and Nestle, instead of less powerful companies, be listed.
They also sought: the strict regulation of unfair trades of pre-initial public offering placement shares, a transparent audit report, buy-back obligations in cases of share prices dropping below issue prices, strict punishment for capital market crimes, and increased investment allocations on the capital market from mutual funds and the insurance sector.
Additionally, they demanded all repressive lawsuits against investors' association leaders be withdrawn and that police harassment stop.
The investors built their movement and protested to save their backs alone, the letter claims.
Allegations have also been levelled against some of the leading people within the association, stating that that they hold too few shares and are more active in misusing their platform to gain unfair benefits from protests rather than investing.
Chowdhury told The Business Standard, "No matter how large our investment is, we are talking about the right things for our capital market and it is our duty to knock at each of the pillars of the state."
The association has been vocal with their causes since the stock market bubble burst in 2010 and began its downward journey that has yet to end.
However, their letter, on Thursday, also recommends that the requirement that listed company sponsors and directors jointly, and 2 percent individually, hold at least 30 percent shares, be ensured – as the BSEC ordered.
They also proposed an alternative stock exchange, the Bangabandhu Stock Exchange, be established to help fight manipulation on the capital market. However, experts are not interested in a third stock exchange while the existing two struggle to earn their revenue from a dull capital market.