VELKOV TO REMAIN CHAIRMAN OF SSEC BY DECEMBER 31?
The election of a new chairman of the State Securities and Exchange Commission (SSEC) might be prolonged until December 31. It is very likely that the present head Lyubomir Velkov (who resigned in early-August) remain on his post until the uniform Finance Supervision Commission (FSC) is established. The draft law for its establishment that stipulates a merger of all departments controlling the capital market, the general and the pension insurance, was voted on first reading by the parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee. According to the draft, the supervising body should start operations on January 1, 2003. The new commission will be guided by a chairman and three deputies. SSEC will no longer exist after December 31, 2002. Until then, Velkov may remain on top of the institution. His successor, who should be presiding the securities commission for two or three months - until December 31, has to be proposed by the Finance Ministry and approved by the Government. However, the BANKER weekly learnt, the selection of the applicants is made by the Ministry of Economy and by its head, Bulgaria's Vice Prime Minister Nikolay Vassilev. This is normal, considering the fact that Vassilev promised to revitalize the Bulgarian capital market.The selection is going on slowly, because some of the applicants fail to meet the legal requirements for either economic or legal background and at least ten-year experience in their field of study. Others are not among the rulers' favourites, well-informed sources say.All the three candidatures, proposed by various groups in the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII), seem to be getting out of the competition. Many people do not like Ivailo Nikolov, expert in the Centre for Economic Development (and a close friend of Nikolay Vassilev), because he is not very suitable for an administrative position.Dimitar Dimitrov, who worked as deputy chairman of SSEC from 1997 to 2001, has few chances to succeed too. At present, he is working as a consultant and is running his own company, Dimitrov Consult. A disadvantage in his biography may appear to be his relation with Elana investment intermediary - Dimitrov used to be an officer there before he went to SSEC and he may have continued to assist the financial house in some of its projects. Elana is disliked by some groups in NMSII because of the close relations of its managers with the rulers in the government of former premier Ivan Kostov.And the present member of the SSEC Dimana Rankova does not have the required 10-year professional experience in order to be appointed chairperson. And although she is supported by part of the parliamentary group of the NMSII, her chances are diminishing. The lawyer and former rector of the Police Academy of Simeonovo Valentin Nedev is the other SSEC member, whose candidacy for the position is talked about. Many participants in the market doubt strongly Mr. Nedev's good knowledge in the sphere of securities, but his qualities of a good administrator are pointed out.Emil Denchev, a former consultant of the bankrupt auditing companyy Arthur Andersen, was the new star on this horizon until a week ago. But according to informed sources, the 35-year lawyer is expected to undertake the legal-taxation department of the company, to be set up as a merger between Ernst Young and Arthur Andersen. This offer has turned out more acceptable to him as the salary he will be paid by the consulting company is much higher than the remuneration he got from Arthur Andersen. Therefore, he has flatly refused the proposal to become chairman of the SSEC.Obviously, there are serious difficulties in nominating a chairperson of the SSEC. This becomes clear from the fact that candidates with no chances to be chosen (as they lack professional experience or university degrees in economics or law) are talked about.Back when Lyubomir Velkov filed his resignation, rumours circulated that the requirement for a definite period of professional experience could be evaded by the motive that the position is for an acting chairman of the SSEC. But the Council of Ministers' lawyers declared that the law could not be interpreted in such a way. Thus, anybody who does not satisfy the requirement shall not be qualified to apply for the post.According to rumours, the future head of the SSEC is already known, but his name has been so far kept in secret because he occupies another responsible position. This also gives grounds for predictions that Mr. Velkov will be still fulfilling his present obligations till the Christmas and New Year holidays.