Fidelity Bank Reports N6.6bn Q1 Profit, Reassures Stakeholders

Fidelity Bank has reported N6.6bn Q1 profit, and has reassured its stakeholders that it will continue to take measures to ensure the safety of customers, staff, and others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is just as The Economist has ranked Nigeria high on financial strength.
Speaking at the bank’s 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos on Thursday, Chairman, Board of Directors of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Ernest Ebi, said the bank “remains committed to building a sustainable business, even in the midst of the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Ebi, who was a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), explained that the board, in line with its oversight responsibilities, had been meeting virtually, to strategise on new opportunity areas to cushion the impact of the pandemic and to sustain the growth trajectory of the bank.

These views were also affirmed by Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, who said the bank’s greatest strength was its ability to adapt to change.

According to him, the bank will explore new prospects that are opening up in the retail market, continue to focus on customer-centricity, innovation and digitalisation while keeping its eye on governance, risk and liquidity.

“We place a high premium on risk management and will continue to review our risk acceptance criteria in reaction to new market realities,” he added.

The meeting, which was held by proxy, in compliance with the Corporate Affairs Commission’s (CAC) issued guidelines on AGMs within the period, had in attendance very few shareholders, on account of social distancing and restriction of movement in Lagos as a result of COVID-19 preventive and precautionary measures. Others joined remotely via live streaming.

The shareholders, who spoke on the occasion, gave kudos to the board and management for 2019 performance, which saw the bank delivering double-digit growth across key performance indices.

Gross earnings grew by 14 per cent to N215.5 billion, driven by a 15.8 per cent growth in interest and similar income. The bank’s profit before tax (PBT) rose by 21 per cent from N25.1 billion in 2018 to N30.4 billion in 2019.

The shareholders unanimously endorsed the payment of a cash dividend of 20 kobo per share, which translated to N5.793 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019.

The National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, applauded the dividend growth from 11 kobo paid in 2018 to 20 kobo in 2019.

“From all the indices, this is a superlative performance. The achievement of over N30 billion in profits is indeed worthy of commendation,” Okezie stated.

Also, the President of the Nigerian Shareholders’ Solidarity Association, Chief Timothy Adesiyan, commended the improvement particularly in interest income, non-performing loans (NPLs), liquidity ratio, and profit after tax and gross earnings. While lauding the bank for its digitalisation programme, he expressed optimism that the bank would be positioned to take advantage of new and emergent opportunities based on its comprehensive upgrade of its technology architecture.

Meanwhile, Fidelity Bank has begun the 2020 financial year on a positive note with the announcement of its unaudited results for the three months ended March 31, 2020.

Gross earnings for the first quarter of the year grew by 5.7 per cent to N51.2 billion from N48.4 billion in the previous year, while profit before tax (PBT) stood at N6.6 billion, representing a marginal drop from the N6.7 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2019.

Shareholders’ funds also grew by 3.6 per cent from N234 billion in 2019, to N242 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

Source:© Copyright Thisday

PFAs invest N7.40tn in FG securities, infrastructure

About N7tn of the N9.99tn pension fund assets has been invested in the Federal Government securities by Pension Fund Administrators.

Latest data from the National Pension Commission also showed that the PFAs raised their investment in infrastructure to N40.52bn as of November 30, 2019.

The N7tn invested in the Federal Government securities represents about 70.88 per cent of the total pension fund assets.

The figures are contained in a PenCom report obtained by our correspondents on Tuesday.

An analysis of the data showed that while the Federal Government’s securities took a huge chunk of the pension assets, state government bonds and corporate bonds took the balance of 29.12 per cent.

A breakdown of the figures showed that the highest amount of N4.86tn was invested in the Federal Government bonds alone.

This was followed by N2.1tn investment in Treasury Bills, while investment in Sukuk bond, agency bond and green bonds followed with N78.1bn, N10.82bn and N15.64bn respectively.

The N10.82bn agency bond, according to the commission, was invested in two government agencies, the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.

The commission in the report stated that the sum of N117.79bn was invested by the PFAs in state governments’ securities.

This is about 1.18 per cent of the total pension fund assets of N9.99tn

For the private sector, an analysis of the report showed that the sum of N535.93bn, representing about 5.36 per cent of the fund, was invested in domestic ordinary shares, while foreign ordinary shares had a total investment of N62.6bn, amounting to 0.69 per cent.

The data also indicated that a total of N40.52bn was invested in infrastructure.

According to the commission, in May 2015, the operators invested N568m in infrastructure and increased this to N1.35bn in December 2015.

It added that the PFAs invested N2.06bn in infrastructure bond in December 2016. The investment rose to N6.86bn in December 2017.

The amount invested in infrastructure as of the end of September 2018 was put at N17.12bn.

Other security instruments where the pension fund was invested are the corporate bonds, N597.45bn, and the supra-national bonds, N4.1bn.

Similarly, the sum of N5.03bn was invested by the PFAs in foreign money market securities; N23.62bn in mutual funds; N224.63bn in real estate; N32.31bn in private equity fund; while cash and other asset investments had N45.14bn.

Source:© Copyright Punch

Bright Prospects for Stock Market

Given the 2020 plans and strategies unveiled by the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema for 2020, the stock market has prospects to sustain the positive performance observed since the beginning of this year, writes Goddy Egene

Given the performance of the Nigerian stock market in 2018 and 2019, most investors who are risk averse may decide to wait for some time l before venturing into the market.

Any investor who adopts a wait and see strategy towards the equities market cannot be blamed because significant losses were incurred in last past two years. For instance, the market declined 17.8 per cent in 2018 and 14.6 per cent in 2019. Although, amid the uninspiring performance, some stocks appreciated and still fetched investors positive returns.

However, while some investors are still contemplating whether or not to invest in the stock market, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, has no doubt in his mind that 2020 will be a good year.
Speaking in Lagos on Monday on the performance of the market in 2019 and out for 2020, Onyema expressed optimism that the market would record a positive performance this year.

He said the market has bright prospects, stressing that market sentiments may be buoyed by a steady and stable recovery in the domestic economy, alongside continued sustainability in monetary policy.
“The signing into law of Nigeria’s Finance Bill 2019 and implementation of the 2020 budget may have a positive impact on companies’ earnings as well as consumer spending. Accordingly, the exchange will continue to advocate for business-friendly economic environment, working in conjunction with both the public and private sectors,” he said.

The NSE boss noted that in their aspiration to become a more agile and demutualised exchange, and pursuant to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s ‘No Objection’, they will proceed to next steps which include seeking formal approval from their members on their demutualisation scheme.

“We are committed to continually provide clarity on the demutualisation process to our various stakeholders through regular engagements. While keeping an eye on the strategic intent of the exchange post demutualisation, we will continue to leverage our vast network of stakeholders, in addition to developing new strategic partnerships with the goal of delivering better products and services to our customers. As African Champions, we will maintain momentum in executing the NSE’s 2018 – 2021 Corporate Strategy in our efforts to elevate the prominence of Africa’s global financial markets,” he said.
Speaking on some of factors that will drive investors’ sentiments in 2020, Onyema said a stable polity and business environment would be key to Nigeria’s success.

“Enhanced focus on infrastructure renaissance and promotion of laws that will support the business environment will be key to Nigeria’s success in 2020. Nigeria moved 15 places from 146th to 131st in the latest World Bank ease of doing business report as such the country has been tagged as one of the most improved economies in the world in terms of doing business reforms. These are positive indicators that will drive investors’ sentiment in 2020,” he said.

Looking Back
Looking back at the market performance in 2019, Onyema, said the Nigerian stock market (which declined 14.6 per cent) mirrored the performance of the larger economy, which continued its moderate path of recovery, growing by 2.28 per cent.
He added: “From an international investor’s perspective, the Nigerian bourse had to compete with developed and emerging capital markets which saw risk-based assets priced and valued more competitively.

“Capital conducive United States Fed policy enabled foreign investors to economically enhance leverage and seek investment opportunities in their home and adjacent countries, as Africa’s largest economy adjusted to new economic realities.
“On the domestic front, investors contended with: the macroeconomic landscape; fiscal and monetary policy direction and a wait-and see attitude given trends in foreign portfolio investors(FPIs).”

Further reviewing the market performance in 2019, Onyema said although the Nigerian Stock Exchange(NSE)’s All Share Index (ASI) posted a negative return of 14.6 per cent to close the year at 26,842.07, the ASI reached a year high of 32,715.20 in February 2019.

“However, the equities market capitalisation increased by 10.55 per cent to N12.97 trillion from N11.73 trillion in 2018, largely due to sustained primary market activities throughout the year, most notably the listings of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Africa,” he said.

Onyema said the NSE indices also posted negative returns during the year with the NSE Consumer Goods Index being the most impacted, declining 20.83 per cent, followed by the NSE Main Board Index and NSE Lotus Islamic Index, which dropped by 20 per cent and 17.87 per cent respectively.
According to him, the NSE Insurance Index and the NSE Premium Index were the least impacted, declining by 0.52 per cent and 3.59 per cent respectively.

He disclosed that the equity market turnover decreased by 19.7 per cent from N1.2 trillion recorded in December 2018 to N0.96 trillion in December 2019, noting that the Financial Services Sector, which accounted for over 50 per cent of total activity remained the highest traded in volume and value, as was the case in 2018.

“To support the equity market in 2019, we rolled out various new initiatives such as a new market structure to enhance liquidity and ensure overall market stability alongside efficiency, as well as launched the beta version of the X-Mobile App (a dynamic and user-friendly mobile app) to boost retail investors participation,” he said.

The NSE boss noted that the fixed income product market performed exceptionally well in 2019, as market capitalisation increased by 20.42 per cent to N12.92 trillion from N10.72 trillion in 2018.
“Turnover also increased by 389.26 per cent when compared to 2018. Capital raising was dominated by the federal government, being responsible for 60 per cent of bond issuances during the period in a bid to finance fiscal and infrastructure deficits.

“The year 2019 saw the groundbreaking listing of Access Bank Plc’s N15 billion Green Bond, the first of its kind to be issued by an African corporate. We also saw the listing of North South Power Company Limited’s N8.5Bn corporate infrastructure Green Bond, which was oversubscribed by 60 per cent, with firm commitments from twelve institutional investors including nine pension funds. Capital raising by corporates increased by 321.61 per cent with a total of N132.68 billion raised in 2019,” he said.

According to him, in addition to the above accomplishments, the NSE signed an MoU with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (the largest Green Bond listing platform in the world) at the World Federation on Exchanges (WFE) conference held in Singapore.
“The MoU is geared towards promoting cross-listing and trading of Green Bonds in Nigeria and Luxembourg. We believe relationships of this nature, which foster co-opetition, further enhances our ability to deliver greater value to our stakeholders,” he said.

In the Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) market, he said they saw the listing of Greenwich Alpha ETF from Greenwich Asset Management Limited which tracks the NSE 30 index.
“Despite the 61.37 per cent decline in trade volumes, 46.43 per cent fall in turnover, there was a 7.43 per cent increase in market capitalisation to close the year at N6.58 billion. The best performing ETF was the NewGold ETF as it returned 31.75 per cent indicative of the shift towards more stable investment securities.

“Also, to optimise investors returns, we partnered Afrinvest Securities Limited to launch two new factor indices: the NSE-Afrinvest Banking Value Index and NSE

“Afrinvest High Dividend Yield Index. Similarly, we partnered Meristem Securities Limited to launch the NSE-Meristem Growth Index and NSE-Meristem Value Index to provide a benchmark for the market to gauge the performance of value stocks and growth stocks listed on the NSE,” he said.

Onyema said despite challenges faced, they continued to execute on the NSE’s 2018 – 2021 Corporate Strategy, geared towards: enhancing the customer experience across the value chain; re-organisation for success and capitalizing on mission critical strategic initiatives.

“During the year, we continued to enhance our product portfolio, orchestrated groundbreaking investment forums and listed some of Africa’s largest companies,” he said.
“Looking at some of the milestones recorded in 2019, the NSE boss said they facilitated the restitutions and recoveries of shares worth N1.436 billion and also worked with securities lending agents to develop a securities lending pool currently worth about N1.07 billion.

“The NSE launched: X-Mobile App to boost investors’ participation; investor relations data pack to enhance issuers’ stakeholder engagement and mutual fund trading and distribution platform to enhance the retail customer experience,” he added.

On market development, he said the exchange hosted interactive session in collaboration with Coronation Merchant Bank to spur growth in the insurance sector.

“The NSE also hosted an interactive session with stakeholders in the Consumer Goods Sector to discuss the role of the capital market in unlocking value in its sector. We also held the inaugural edition of the Islamic Finance in Nigeria (IFN) forum in partnership with REDmoney Group to harness the Islamic Finance Sector for infrastructure development and economic growth. We equally organised fixed income trading workshop and retail investor coverage workshop to enhance the capacity of dealing members and increase investors participation from various investment classes,” he added.

Source:© Copyright Thisday

Uduk: Massive Investment Opportunities abound in Down Market

The Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms. Mary Uduk, in this interview with Obinna Chima, on the sidelines of the recently held Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, held in Washington DC, highlighted various initiatives introduced by the regulator to strengthen the capital market. Excerpts:  

What is your assessment of the performance of the capital market so far in 2019?

The capital market can be assessed in three areas: Our efforts at policies and regulation, the development in the primary segment of the market as well as secondary market performance. In terms of policies and regulations, we have continued to implement nitiatives as contained in the Capital Market Master Plan. These include e-dividend, direct cash settlement, financial literacy, commodities ecosystem, among others. I will like to tell you that these, and many more, are shaping the landscape of the Nigerian capital market. In terms of the primary market, we have some new equities issues comprising rights, bonuses and global offer of securities. Some corporates have also issued bonds and some have taken advantage of our new rules on Green bonds to issue this innovative product. In addition, we have equally expanded the number and value of our registered Collective Investment Scheme. Now for the secondary market, if you look at the equities market, especially on the NSE, the market has lost about 16 per cent so far this year, on the back of relatively weak economic fundamentals and investors’ sentiments. Meanwhile, the trading statistics in the fixed income segment of the market appears relatively higher. However, in this last quarter of the year, we hope to see some improvement in the equities segment, especially as investors see opportunities to pick low-priced stocks. As you know, even in a down market, there are still opportunities, since what is down has higher probability of rising. So, generally, during the period under review, the market witnessed some relative activities in both the primary and Secondary segment of the market. Also, in the primary market, there was a new trend in the last one year with the listing of the telecomm companies (MTN Nigeria) and also the recent IPO and dual listing of Airtel. The dual listing of Airtel signified the interest of the foreign issuers into the Nigerian capital market. Consequent to the Airtel IPO, some off shore companies are in discussion with the Commission for an IPO that would be dually listed in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

But what are the reforms SEC is working on to enhance growth and confidence in the market?

Yes, investors’ confidence is central to our job as the regulator of the capital market. People must have confidence to invest, not just in the performance of the market, but that stakeholders will play by the set rules and standard and that the market is efficient. If you look at many of our initiatives, they are designed to achieve these. For instance, the e-Dividend system enables shareholders’ dividend to be paid directly into their bank accounts without the stress of dealing with physical dividend warrants and to reduce unclaimed dividend. Also, the Direct Cash Settlement protects investors from funds mismanagement by ensuring that the proceeds of their shares sales are credited directly into their own account. Similarly, non-interest finance is to boost the confidence of those that may not want to invest in the conventional capital market products. We have also continued to discourage people from investing in Ponzi schemes. Our enforcement action against Dantata Success and Profitable Company and others are necessary to make investors distinguish between regulated and illegal investment schemes. We have also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to curb and combat fraud in the capital market. In the area of financial literacy, you know knowledge is power and it can bring confidence. We have employed various means to bring financial literacy to students, academics, military, and the general public, among others. In the area of multiple accounts regularisation, we have assisted in regularising accounts of investors that used different names during IPOs. This was to enhance market liquidity and reduce unclaimed dividend. So, these and many more we are doing to improve the confidence of existing and potential investors in the Nigerian capital market.

I also need to mention that in order to encourage financial inclusion and with the aim of catching them young, we have developed the curriculum on capital market studies and we are now training the teachers. That is the stage where we are now. With fintechs, we are trying to encourage innovation through the use of technology. At the last Capital Market Committee, we resolved that the capital market is not going to sit on the fence and that is why we set up an implantation Committee on the Fintech Roadmap. This road map will be launched later this month, which shows how important fintech is to us. In addition, we are still in continuous engagement with PenCom to encourage more Pension Fund Administrators’ participation in the market. Many of them have large sums of money under management that they can deploy in our markets. We are also planning to re-constitute the Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC)

How do you think the market has fared in the area of corporate governance and what are your expectations?

As you are aware, companies must have good governance structure and be run properly for them to be profitable and sustainable. This is even more relevant for public companies, given that ownership is separated from control. Thus, shareholders and investors must have comfort that their companies are well governed under the appointed managers. With the scorecard which now allows the commission to assess compliance, investors are now better off. The companies are complying and that is boosting investor confidence. The companies now disclose their level of compliance to corporate governance practices which enhances transparency. Now that we have a national code, we expect to see high level of compliance because we have a national code now in addition to the sector code. With these two layers of code, and reporting structure where they need to report the level of their compliance, it will more confidence to foreign investors to invest in our country. This helps to attract foreign investors. But when there are violations to these codes, we sanction them. As securities regulator, we must push for this, otherwise, investors’ rights and confidence will be eroded and they will not be interested in participating in our market. You can imagine the impact of that on the country’s level of investment and growth. Therefore, we monitor companies’ compliance with our Code of Corporate Governance and when they are in violation, we sanction them appropriately. You are probably aware of some of the recent cases where we are taking action against the management of some companies. There are other cases we are looking into that will become public in due time. We encourage whistle-blowers to use our policies in this respect and bring to our notice any of corporate governance violation case that we may not observe. We are also working towards re-introducing the APC that is more strengthened.

How will you feel if you are able to bring the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to list on the exchange?

I will feel great. As you rightly said, the listing of MTN and Airtel was a very positive outcome and they substantial raised the capitalisation of the equities market. It also meant we now have the telecoms sector of the economy represented on the stock market. Therefore, it will be great to also have the petroleum sector well represented on our market and having NNPC will make it greater. Recall that one of the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), if approved, is to list 10 per cent and an additional 30 per cent of NNPC companies between five and 10 years. If this is done, it will significantly improve the size and performance of our market. Meanwhile, it will also be important for the NNPC companies to be well commercialised such that they can return positive profits to their shareholders. But, I believe that with the country’s potential in the oil and gas sector as well as with appropriate governance and commercialisation policy, investors, the market and the entire economy will benefit from such listing. And it will be a great achievement indeed.


All-Share Index Falls Further Despite 69% Rise in Trading Value

Investors staked N2.537 billion on 185.944 million shares in 3,083 deals at the stock market yesterday. This, represented an increase of 68.7 per cent compared with N1.504 billion invested in 151.714 million shares in 2,854 deals the previous day.

Despite the increase in value of investment, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index declined by 0.21 per cent to close at 26,809.92, while market capitalisation shed N27.5 billion to close at N27.5 billion as the bears sustained their hold on the market. However, the decline was lower than the 0.45 per cent fall recorded the previous day.

A look at the activity chart in volume terms showed that Zenith Bank Plc recorded the highest transaction of 60.9 million shares, followed by FCMB Group Plc with 37.3 million shares, while GTBank Plc accounted for 27.9 million shares. In value terms, Zenith Bank remained the leader with N1.1 billion, trailed by GTBank Plc that recorded N744.4 million, while Nestle Nigeria Plc recorded N242.1 million.

Meanwhile, 14 stocks depreciated, led by Champion Breweries Plc with 9.6 per cent, followed by Courtville Business Solutions Plc with 9.0 per cent. Learn Africa Plc shed 8.9 per cent, while Wema Bank Plc and Chams Plc fell by 5.4 per cent. Chams Plc recently appointed a new managing director, Mr. Gavin Young to succeed Femi Williams, who retired after many years of meritorious service.

According to the company, until his appointment, Young was a strategic consultant to key subsidiaries of Chams Plc including Chams Switch Ltd and Chams Mobile Ltd.

“A seasoned fintech professional with a proven track record in managing companies, including subsidiaries of listed companies spanning diverse geographical areas of Africa , Young brings to Chams Plc, over three decades of robust industry experience to raise the bar in all the company’s performance indicators. Young, specifically focuses on all areas of electronic banking and fintech; issuing, acquiring, switching. His primary areas of specialisation are payments switching and processing, developing and managing payment card schemes, terminal and other electronic infrastructure management, transaction processing, transaction acquiring systems, and mobile payments among others,” the company said in a statement.

On the positive side, NASCON Allied Industries Plc led the 12 price gainers with 10 per cent. NPF Microfinance Bank Plc followed with 9.1 per cent, while Forte Oil Plc chalked up 6.1 per cent. Double One Plc appreciated by 5.6 per cent.

Source:© Copyright Thisday

At 59, Despite Challenges, Capital Market Shows Resilience

The Nigerian capital market has shown resilience over the years and has been playing its role of capital formation and distribution to an acceptable level.

Although there is still room for improvement, it must be realised that the level of the development and growth of the Nigerian capital market (NCM) over the years, has been affected by the performance of the economy in general.

Specifically, the NCM became active with the establishment of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in 1960, the same year Nigeria got its independence. But the market has evolved over the years and has taken a new shape which has given hopes that with more efforts by regulators, favourable economic policies push and good policies, the market will get to the desired level.

Looking at the performance of the market over the years, it has done fairly well considering the many challenges in the operating environment. The market has have challenges such lack of capital market-friendly economic policies, ignorance on the part of many people, policy summersaults and political instability.

But despite these challenges, the NCM has witnessed improved performance. For instance, total of new issues before 1989 was below N1 billion but increased to N10 billion and crossed the N10 billion mark in 1997.

Between 1996 and 2001, a total of 172 new issues (securities of public companies amounting to N56.40 billion) were floated in the capital market. The total of new issues was valued at N5.85 billion in 1996 but it rose by about 532 per cent to N37.198 billion in 2001. This improved to N61.284 billion in 2002, N180.079 billion in 2003 ,while 2004 and 2005 accounted for N195.418 billion and N552.782 billion respectively before it crossed the trillion naira mark to hit N1.935 trillion in 2007 when the market was at its peak.

In terms of number of securities on the NSE, it grew from eight in 1961 to 60 in 1971,194 in 1981, 239 in 1990. The number of securities improved to 264 in 2010, but reduced to 166 as at Monday due to delisting of some companies.

In terms of market capitalisation, which is the most widely used indicator in assessing the size of a capital market to an economy, it was between N10 billion and N57 billion 1988 and 1994. It improved to N1. 3593 trillion in 2003, N2.1125 trillion in 2004 and N5.12 trillion in 2006. The market capitalisation recorded the highest value of N13.2294 trillion in 2007 before falling to N9.562 trillion in 2008 due to the global financial meltdown. It closed at N13.450 trillion at the end of September 2019. The NSE All-Share Index, which was introduced with a base of 100, has also followed the same pattern of fluctuation over the years and closed at but closed at 27,675.04 at the end of September, 2019.

However, with the introduction of two other platforms, the FMDQ Securities Exchange Plc and NASD OTC Securities Exchange, the NCM has started to witness some positive changes and developments. While the FMDQ, which was launched as the platform for the trading of debt and fixed income securities and currencies, has transformed into a complete securities exchange. On the other hand, the NASD OTC is for the trading of equities not listed on the NSE and it has recorded some significant achievements.

Some reforms
Over the years, the apex regulatory body for the market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has strived to make the market attractive. For instance, the coming on board of FMDQ and NASD further widened participation. The commission equally made sure that the market integrity was restored by considerably enforcing rules. SEC also strengthened disclosure requirements and led the implementation of international financial reporting values for listed companies. However, the game changer was the 10-year Capital Market Master-plan, which is currently being implemented to transform the market.

Operators said the policies and initiatives so far introduced by SEC in line with the master plan, are capable of making the market investors’ haven once the external challenges subside.

For instance, the strengthening of capital market operators (CMOs) with the successful completion of the recapitalisation last year is a good development that has helped to reposition them for better competition.

Also, SEC’s collaboration with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) for the introduction of the electronic dividend (e-Dividend) payment platform that will address the challenge of unclaimed dividends in the market is another positive move.
Another laudable development is the introduction of direct cash settlement (DCS), which allows investors to have direct access to the proceeds of their shares sold by brokers.

Speaking on the benefits of some of the initiatives introduced, the acting Director General, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, said: “For instance, with the dematerialisation process completed, investors no longer need to not worry about the loss or damage to their physical share certificates as they are now electronically stored. Further, the current e-Dividend system enables shareholders’ dividend to be paid directly into their bank account without the stress of dealing with physical dividend warrants.

Also, the Direct Cash Settlement protects investors from funds mismanagement by ensuring that the proceeds of their shares sales are credited directly into their own account as against that of the stockbroker.
“We are equally working on ensuring that companies’ annual reports are distributed electronically thereby ensuring timeliness of information to shareholders and cost reduction to public companies.”

Stakeholders’ assessment
The Managing Director/Chief Officer of APT Securities and Funds Limited, Kasimu Kurfi said the performance of capital markets in the last 59 years had been very interesting as, “the number of listed securities moved from 13 in 1961 to over 250 while our market capitalisation rose from million to billion by 1990 into trillion by 2005 to ever highest of over N16 trillion by 2008 before it fell to the N13 trillion level.”

He added: “Today the equity market capitalisation is N13.45 trillion with ASI of 27,630.56. The market trading system changed from call over system to automated trading system into more advanced system call Order Management System (OMS) that on line trading using your hand set to trade in the market. “Foreign investors are trading in our market most of the time is 50 per cent, 50 per cent between local and foreign investors. It also serves as a window of foreign exchange (FX) inflow into the market by increasing our foreign reserves.

“It also serves as a provider of capital to most of our banks, insurance companies and many other companies that are listed in the market. Today we have about 200 stockbroking firms compared with about eight as at 1979. Investment bankers, registrars, and many other operators that make a living in the system.

“The federal government is making money through VAT, Stamp duties. The market growth from single exchange and has been joined by FMDQ, which traded more than N180trillion last year and NASD Plc.”
Another stockbroker and Chief Executive Officer, Sofunix Investment and Communications Limited, Mr. Sola Oni said unstable macroeconomic environment, nurtured by uncertainty in the political and economic space remained a major drag to market rebound in Nigeria.

He explained: “The market has faithfully continued to serve as a barometer that gauges the economy. Nigeria’s economy is characterised by sluggish growth while insecurity and weak economic fundamentals, among others have further worsened the precarious nature of the market.

“This is not peculiar to Nigeria. Trade tension between the United States of America and China is taking tolls on the world economy. This has dire effects on the operations of emerging markets.”

Oni, explained that the emerging markets in which Nigeria is a member is characterised by high volatility and high returns while they provide diversification opportunities for investors in developed markets.
He noted that the federal government’s lethargic approach towards utilising the market remains a major challenge.

According to him, the market was grossly undervalued across the board as investor apathy continued to deepen by the day.
“Investors are still apprehensive of macroeconomic instability and inclement operating environment. This partly explained the prolonged downward trend on The Exchange. Aside from mega listing of MTN and a few others, there is abysmal dearth of new listing. Government is crowding out equity investors as monetary policy favours investment in fixed income,” he stated.

Oni , urged the new Economic Advisory Council (EAC), headed by Prof. Doyin Salami, to conduct a clinical review of all policies that would impact on market growth and development for effective implementation.

He explained that EAC’s engagement should focus on how to fix the economy with multiplier effects on global competitiveness of our market, noting that the Nigerian capital market remained a major hub through which the country can serve as an investment destination.

However, he said that in spite of the challenges there was hope on the horizon considering initiatives put in place by market regulators to scale up activities.
“There is a more effective and efficient regulatory approach with the deployment of information and communications technology (ICT) by SEC and NSE to operationalise their services.
“Market monitoring, enforcement of rules and ease of exchange of information between the regulators and other stakeholders in the ecosystem have been up scaled,”he said.

Oni, added that the arrival of Lagos Commodity and Futures Exchange (LCFE), NASD and FMDQ Securities Exchange had further diversified the market.
“They have created multiple sources of transaction for the stakeholders in the capital market ecosystem. The future is bright,” he stated.

On his part, Chairman, Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association, Mr. Eric Akinduro, said the market had over the years achieved tremendous growth.
“Through the capital market we are able to have access to the wealth of some companies including the foreign owned businesses. Capital market as a reflection and true picture of the economy, we cannot isolated from our economy.

“The economy has not been favourable to the operations of the capital market but with time it will be better. Many companies are operating under very harsh conditions yet which led to low or no return on our investments.

“Stock market was the best investment opportunities until after the crash in 2008/09 with every one that investment during the period mentioned got their fingers burnt and are yet to recover till today. Going forward, the government should be more consistent in policy that will affect the market positively. Government should see the market as a catalyst to economic development in view of this security and protection are very key. No investor will invest in an economy that is not safe,” Akinduro said.

Similarly, Mr. Moses Igbrude of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), said the capital market could not be isolated from the general economy.
Igbrude, said the nation’s economy had been facing challenges occasioned by insecurity, power, lack of infrastructure, multiple taxation and policies inconsistencies, among others.

The ISAN Publicity Secretary said that many companies had folded up due to high cost of production which made them uncompetitive.
He said government, as a matter of urgency, should address the issue of power to make our country competitive in ease of doing business.
Igbrude, called on SEC and NSE to partner the federal government to address multiple taxation and illegal collection of taxes by touts going on in the country.

He also stressed the need for tax incentives to encourage more listing on the nation’s bourse.
“SEC and NSE should also put a very good advocacy programme in place to encourage and awaken Nigerians’ interest in the capital market to reduce dominance of foreign investors,” Igbrude said.

According to him, this would boost local participation in the market and as well enable local investors to absorb shares offloaded by foreign investors any time there was perceived economic instability.

Source:© Copyright Thisday

NSE Index Rises to 27,586.79, Market Sustains Positive Trend

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index appreciated by 0.08 per cent as the Nigerian equities market sustained its positive trend yesterday. The NSE ASI closed at 27,586.79, while market capitalisation added N10.6 billion to be at N13.4 trillion.

Similarly, activity level increased as volume of trading rose 164 per cent to 294.4 million shares, while value traded increased by 123.9 per cent to N3.5 billion respectively. The top traded stocks by volume were UAC-Property Development Company Plc (61.7 million shares), Access Bank Plc (55.1 million shares) and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (52.0 million shares) while GTBank (N1.4 billion), MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (N487.3 million), and Access Bank Plc (N369.4 million) were the top traded stocks by value.

A total of 13 stocks appreciated, led by International Breweries Plc with 10 per cent, trailed by Cornerstone Insurance Plc with 8.7 per cent. Continental Reinsurance Plc chalked up 8.6 per cent, just as Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Plc and Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc went up by 5.4 per cent and 4.7 per cent in that order. Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc and Cutix Plc garnered 4.4 per cent and 3.3 per cent respectively.

United Bank for Africa (UBA)Plc also gained 3.2 per cent as investors continued to react to the half year results announced last Friday.

UBA posted a growth of 21 per cent in its profit before tax for the year ended June 30, 2019, rising to N70.3 billion from N58.1 billion in 2018. Profit after tax grew faster by 29.6 per cent to N56.7 billion, compared to N43.8 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2018.

The bank’s total assets grew by 4.8 per cent crossing the N5 trillion mark to N5.10 trillion as at the end of June, while customer deposits also rose by 4.8 per cent to N3.51 trillion, compared to N3.35 trillion as at December 2018.

Conversely, Tripple Gee & Company Plc led the price losers with 9.5 per cent, trailed by Sterling Bank Plc with 8.0 per cent. UACN Property Development Plc went down by 6.8 per cent, just as LASACO Assurance Plc shed 6.6 per cent among others.

Meanwhile, sectorally the performance was mixed as two of the five sectors tracked rose while two declined. The NSE Insurance Index led 1.8 per cent. The NSE Industrial Goods Index rose 0.6 per cent. Conversely, the NSE Consumer Goods Index led the losers with 0.4 per cent, while the NSE Banking Index fell by 0.3 per cent. The NSE Oil & Gas Index declined 0.2 per cent.

Source:© Copyright Thisday 

SEC to Engage Stakeholders on Reduction of Unclaimed Dividends

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is to engage relevant stakeholders as part of efforts to reduce unclaimed dividends in the nation’s capital market.

The acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, who stated this in Lagos, said the engagements would concern electronic-Dividend(e-dividend) registration and multiple accounts regularisation in a bid to reduce the unclaimed dividends.

According to her, as part of the engagement, brokers and registrars are required to make available to the Committee on Multiple Subscription Account, on a periodic basis, the number of regularised accounts.

Uduk said specific areas of engagement are ensuring that complete investor data are transferred among operators such as brokers, registrars and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), discouraging unclaimed dividends from building up from securities of newly-listed companies.

“Another thing we need to do is developing the modalities for validating register of members, where the registrars are furnished with incomplete information such as missing account numbers. We believe the capital market of our dreams can only be achieved through the collaboration of all stakeholders,” she said.

Following the expiration of free e-dividend mandate registration period offered to investors, the SEC boss also unveiled plans to partner the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that e-dividend charges are included in the guideline for bank charges.

According to Uduk, “SEC has been underwriting the e-dividend charges of N1.50 kobo but since we stopped, we have received a lot of complaints from investors due to the e-dividend charges. But after extensive discussions with the capital market committee, the commission intends to partner with the apex bank to issue charges on E-DMMS transactions. The CBN has a published charge for the banks. This means that any transactions carried out by any bank, there is an established charge.”

She explained that since the e-dividend registration charge is not part of the charges from the CBN, investors are having issues with banks where they are charged for some transactions that are not listed as bank charges, which they do not know.

Meanwhile, the account regularization is yielding the desired fruits as 3.5 billion shares had so been regularized. The regularisation was extended to December 31, 2019.

“Through this exercise, some Nigerian investors in Diaspora have been able to consolidate their shareholding accounts. Similarly, several local investors with numerous accounts have also been able to consolidate their investments. We therefore enjoin the general public to take advantage of this initiative to regularise their shareholding accounts before the December 31, 2019 deadline,” SEC had said.

Source:© Copyright Thisday

Stock Market Pares Losses, Recovers 3.2% on Bargain Hunting

It was a positive performance at the equities market last week as the market pared losses of the previous weeks to gain  3.25 per cent, following bargain hunting in bellwether stocks.

Having declined to an unprecedented record low, the market recovered as investors moved in to take advantage of low valuations in a week that President Muhammadu Buhari swore-in the ministers that would help to drive fiscal policies.

Specifically, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) that 1.40 per cent the previous week, appreciated by 3.25 per cent to close at 27,800.17, while market capitalisation added N83 billion to close at N13.5 trillion.

The market recorded gains in four out of the five trading days of the week. Although gains by bellwether such as Dangote Cement Plc, Nestle Nigeria Plc contributed to the positive performance, some analysts said the constitution of the federal government cabinet also contributed.

However, commenting on the allocation of portfolio to the various ministers, analyst at Afrinvest Research raised some doubts in the key ministries.

For instance, they said in the oil and gas industry where progress has been negligible for decades, President Buhari retained the position of minister of petroleum resources.

“In our opinion, the President lacks the agility and the skill set to transform the sector based on his performance in the same position for the past two years, hence momentum in the sector is expected to remain weak. We expect slow progress towards passing and implementing the reforms need to attract investment into the industry,” they stated.

Afrinvest, noted that in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the re-appointment of Zainab Ahmed, provides clarity on the direction of fiscal policies.

“Accordingly, we expect a sustained drive to boost tax collection to narrow the federal government’s widening fiscal deficit. But as we do not expect strong improvements in the short-term, we expect continued funding of deficits in the cheaper Eurobond market.

“The easy monetary policy in advanced markets makes this strategy even more compelling in the near term, but we note that currency risk lurks. In our view, this ministry remains one to watch as the federal government’s fiscal challenges would partially dictate the pace of improvement in the economy.

“The concern is whether the federal government would take necessary actions such as reining in spending and removing subsidies to free up more resources. In this regard, adopting the strategies employed during the first term of President Buhari would yield little progress,” they added.

Speaking on the Works & Housing and Transport Ministries, where Babatunde Fashola and Rotimi Amaechi respectively, retained their jobs, they stated they were, “optimistic of the continuity of current priority projects and faster completion times.”

“The key risk for these ministries is that capital releases may fall short of budget allocation as capital spending becomes increasingly discretionary in the face of weak revenue mobilisation and increasing recurrent expenditure,” they added.

According to Afrinvest, the Ministry for Industry, Trade and Investment is another important ministry under its watch.

“Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country has dipped consistently from the peak of $8.9 billion in 2011 to $2.0 billion in 2018. Relative to the size of the economy, FDI has deteriorated from the peak of 3.2 per cent in 2009 to 0.5 per cent in 2018. There is a need to sustain business environment reforms, loosen regulations and promote liberalization of sectors to encourage the investment needed to boost growth significantly.

“We only saw progress in business environment reforms in the past four years, but regulation became tighter and the FG consolidated its hold on important sectors such as power and oil & gas,” they explained.

Market turnover

In terms of market turnover, investors traded a total turnover of 2.337 billion shares worth N19.712 billion in 18,379 deals last week, which is a jump of 2.2 per cent compared with 726.607 million shares valued at N10.459 billion that exchanged hands in 12,915 deals the preceding week.

However, the Financial Services industry remained the most traded, leading the activity chat with 1.815 billion shares valued at N10.441 billion traded in 10,701 deals. The sector thus contributed 77.7 per cent and 52.9 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively. The Conglomerates industry followed with 197.802 million shares worth N286.209 million in 1,066 deals, while the third place was Industrial Goods industry that recorded a turnover of 100.366 million shares worth N2.176 billion in 788 deals.

Trading in the top three equities namely, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc and Zenith Bank Plc accounted for 1.244 billion shares worth N3.348 billion in 2,907 deals. They contributed 53.2 per cent and 16.9 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.

With regard to the Exchange Traded Products, a total of 3,943 units valued at N1.684 million were traded last week in 16 deals compared with a total of 1,292 units valued at N15, 283.55 transacted the previous  week in seven deals.

In the bond market, investors traded a total of 1,673 units of Federal Government Bonds valued at N1.674 million were traded  in 31 deals compared with a total of 4,009 units valued at N4.111 million transacted  two weeks in 16 deals

Top price gainers and losers

Meanwhile, 40 equities appreciated in price during the week, higher than 15 equities in the previous week, while 25 equities depreciated in price, lower than 34 equities in the previous week.

The price gainers’ chat was led by Ecobank Transnational Incorporated with 33.3 per cent, trailed by Oando Plc with 20.9 per cent. Fidelity Bank Plc chalked up 20 per cent just as UAC of Nigeria Plc garnered 18.8 per cent. Law Union & Rock Insurance Plc went up by 18.2 per cent, just as C & I Leasing Plc and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc gained 17.7 per cent and 14.5 per cent respectively. United Capital Plc and Transcorp Plc appreciated by 13.1 per cent in that order, while Chams Plc  closed 13.0 per cent higher.

Conversely, Okomu Oil Palm Plc led the price losers with 18.0 per cent, trailed by NCR(Nigeria) Plc with a decline of 14.6 per cent. LASACO Assurance Plc shed 12.1 per cent, while Continental Reinsurance Plc depreciated by 10.3 per cent. Tripple Gee & Company Plc ended the week 10 per cent lower.

MRS Oil Nigeria Plc lost 9.8 per cent, just as Cadbury Nigeria Plc and Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc gained 9.7 per cent and 9.0 per cent in that order. Unity Bank Plc and Linkage Assurance Plc shed 8.7 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively.

Source:© Copyright Thisday 

FMDQ Exchange takes off with trading in all securities – signals paradigm shiftBy

FMDQ Securities Exchange Plc on Monday formally launched its new status and corporate identity as a full fledge securities exchange with registration to trade in all securities including fixed income, equities, derivatives, commodities and foreign exchange.

Formerly known as FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, the transition of FMDQ from an over-the-counter (OTC) platform to a full-blown securities exchange represents a paradigm shift in the Nigerian capital market. It ends the unwritten mono-stock exchange policy and opens up the capital market to intense competition.

Nigeria’s apex capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  approved the amendment of the registration of FMDQ OTC Plc from ‘an OTC Market’ to a fullfledged ‘securities exchange’ in March 2019.

FMDQ then secured necessary approvals for a name change to ‘FMDQ Securities Exchange Plc (FMDQ Exchange) with immediate effect, thereby aligning its name to its upgraded status in the capital market. Furthermore, in June 2019, the Exchange received SEC’s registration of its wholly owned central securities depository subsidiary – FMDQ Depository Limited, which is positioned to provide collateral caching, custodian and settlement services with excellent operational capabilities tailored to provide value to its stakeholders.

FMDQ Depository Limited completes the value chain of pertinent market infrastructure in the Nigerian financial markets, particularly the posttrade spectrum, following the operationalisation of FMDQ Clear Limited.

FMDQ noted Monday that the implications of its new status are far-reaching as the careful implementation of the FMDQ Entities – FMDQ Exchange, FMDQ Clear and FMDQ Depository – have not only created robust linkages between hitherto fragmented spheres of the markets, but also presented the market with an efficient, innovative and integrated financial market infrastructure (FMI) group for the seamless execution, clearing and settlement of financial markets transactions.

Having set the pace in the fixed income, currency and derivatives markets, FMDQ Exchange, as a full-fledged securities exchange, will position itself to cover new markets equities and commodities – in the near- to mid-term.

Managing Director, FMDQ Securities Exchange Plc (FMDQ Exchange), Mr. Bola Onadele. Koko said the development of the Exchange over the last five years was reflective of the progressive and dedicated strategic leadership provided by its board of directors, as well as the company’s ever-intensifying commitment to proactively deliver value to its stakeholders.

According to him, having successfully consolidated past gains and taken on new frontiers through the operationalisation of a budding integrated FMI Group across the full value chain of the securities market – execute, clear and settle – the Group is poised to enhance efficiencies in FMDQ’s markets to the benefit of market participants.

He noted that it was in view of the resolute affirmation of the FMDQ entities to influence and promote sustainable development in the Nigerian financial market, one which is in alignment with global standards, that a new identity was unveiled on Monday.

“As it commences its second lustrum, FMDQ as a one-stop FMI Group with a platform to execute, clear and settle transactions in the Nigerian financial markets, remains committed to collaboratively deliver innovative and forwardthinking solutions to the market,” Onadele.Koko said.

The erstwhile OTC Exchange commenced operations in November 2013, following its launch as an OTC market, primarily to organise the interbank market with focus on the fixed income, currency and derivative markets, and as a self-regulatory organisation, providing a world-class governance structure for the markets within its purview.

In view of this, FMDQ Exchange set out to transform the markets, in line with its audacious agenda to make the markets globally competitive, operationally excellent, liquid and diverse; commonly known by market participants as FMDQ’s GOLD Agenda.

Source:© Copyright  The Nation