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Eghtesadonline: The managing director of the Securities and Exchange Organization on Saturday briefed reporters on measures taken by the regulator in the outgoing calendar year.

Majid Eshqi said the organization strived to end monopolies and ease issuing permits to set up financial institutions, such as brokerages and investment funds.  

 No new brokerage company was allowed in the past 12 years. This year [ends March 20], nine new applicants got the agreement in principle to operate and one received the final permit to set up a brokerage firm,  he was quoted as saying by the SEO News Agency. 

The SEO gave permits for the establishment of 29 investment funds and issued activity permission to 25 others to operate as institutional investors. 

Moreover, agreements in principle were issued for setting up 3 financial consultancies plus four permits for starting market making companies. 

The SEO stepped up efforts to create a legal obligation for listed companies to pay dividends to shareholders on a timely basis. Long demanded by retail investors, this  move is expected to help them receive their dividends in a disciplined and predictable manner. 

So far listed companies deposited the dividend per share (DPS) to accounts in designated banks, asking shareholders to go to the bank to collect the DPS and determined timelines. In many cases, investors disregarded the DPS to avoid hassles of approaching banks. 

As per new rules approved by Majlis, in case of noncompliance on the part of listed companies, they will be fined to the tune of 20% of the DPS value.

Eshqi pointed to the capital market s increasing role in funding the economy and put the amount made available to businesses via the capital market at 6,000 trillion rials ($23 billion) in the year.