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SEC Targets N1.5trn Increase Capital in Q4 2020

From Joy Okeke, Lagos

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the weekend, expressed optimism that Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) in the capital market will increase to N1.

5 trillion by the fourth quarter (Q4) of the year.

CIS also known as Mutual Funds is an arranged pool of funds managed on behalf of investors by a professional money manager which may invest in ventures capital, portfolio of stocks Bonds and other securities. 

Acting Director-General of the Commission, Ms Mary Uduk, expressed the optimism in Lagos at the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) forum sponsored by the Commission.

Uduk said that the commission was setting up more strategies to develop the mutual fund segment in the Nigerian capital Market.

The acting Director-General, represented by the Head, Office of Economics at SEC, Mr Okey Umeano, noted that the segment which currently stands at more than N1 trillion is still growing and urged retail investors to use the funds as a means to access the market.

“In any advanced market, the Collective Investment Scheme form a very big part of the market.

“We at the commission have discovered that some of the investors who lost their savings during the crisis in 2008 are low on confidence.

“That is the reason why we are encouraging retail investors to go through these mutual funds because they are set up and approved by capital market operators and the SEC and the SEC regulates them (operators).

“Currently the size of the segment stands at N1 trillion but we expect it to grow much higher.
“So we are urging retail investors and high networth investors to use the mutual funds route to enter the market”, she added.

Divisonal Head, Economic, Research and Policy Management, SEC,  Dr Afolabi Olowookere while corroborating Ms Uduk’s view, said that the commission expects to see a significant rise of N1.5 trillion or N2 trillion in mutual funds.

Olowookere noted that about 480,000 investors had keyed into the investment segment.

According to him “We still expect that size to get to N1.5 or N2 trillion and the reason is because it provides an avenue for retail investors to buy.

“The mutual fund may not have very high return but definitely it won’t have low return and with the SEC at the forefront of financial inclusion, we are pushing collective investment scheme because it brings some form of stability for investments.

“The number of units of account in that segment currently stands at 480,000 investors and it would likely increase”, he said.

Uduk said domestic investors transactions in January outperformed foreign investors execution by 40 per cent, which accounted for N70.32 billion.

According to her, domestic investors transactions show that the domestic institutional transactions accounted for N83.47 billion, while domestic retail transactions stood at N81.67 billion, bringing the total to N165.14 billion.

Uduk said the trend re-emphasised the need for increase retail investors’ participation in the market.

She stressed the importance of not allowing uncertainties dampen our resolve to attain the strong capital market of the nation’s dream.

“In spite of these trends, clearly, the fundamentals of our markets and economies remain solid and promising as astute investors know.

“I therefore, urge retail investors to leverage on this and invest in the capital market, which is one of the avenues to build sustainable and long-term wealth,” Uduk noted.

She noted that the commission in conjunction with other self-regulatory organisations (SROs) had continued to enhance the regulatory framework through various policy reforms and initiatives to boost investors’ confidence.

“There is therefore the need for increased participation of local (retail and institutional) investors in the market and for foreign investors to have higher confidence concerning the safety of their investments,” she added.

Uduk explained that the 10-year Capital Market Master Plan (CMMP) was developed in 2015 to map out strategies for improvement of the Nigerian Capital market in areas such as investor protection and education, professionalism and product innovation, among others.

She said the commission this year would drive several market initiatives in a bid to restore investor confidence thereby increasing participation in the market.

She listed the initiatives as deployment of Real Time Automated Market Surveillance System; driving the growth of Collective Investment Schemes (CIS); capital market literacy and completion of the infusion of capital market into schools’ curricula.

Uduk added that SEC would ensure robust engagement with sister agencies like the Central Bank of Nigeria, PENCOM, National Insurance Commission and others to ensure consideration of the capital market in policy making.

She stated that the commission would leverage the success of the e-Dividend initiative to drive Direct Cash Settlement and solve the multiple subscription problem in the market.

“Notwithstanding the numerous initiatives and strategies being implemented, the commission realises that more still needs to be done.”


COVIT-19: No FIRS Staff Tested PositiveManagement

By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The management of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), has refutted social media reports making the rounds that a staff of the Service has tested positive to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a statement made available in  by the Director of Communication, Abdullahi Ahmad, in Abuja at the weekend, the Service described the report as fake. 

The statement reads: “The attention of the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami and the Management of the Service has been drawn to the fake news making the rounds on Social Media that a member of staff at the FIRS has tested positive to COVID-19.

“The Service hereby states unequivocally that no member of staff at the FIRS has tested positive to COVID-19 as being peddled on Social Media.

 “The Service can confirm that a member of staff who went to pick his wife from the airport following her return from a trip abroad is currently and voluntarily observing the Federal Government advisory of self-isolation alongside his spouse at the couple’s home since Monday. 

“Both husband and wife have not visited any FIRS offices or events since the wife retuned to Nigeria last Sunday. More importantly, both husband and wife have only been in self-isolation for five days and have NOT tested positive to Covid-19.

“Before now, all FIRS offices have taken necessary precautions to protect both Staff and our esteemed taxpayers from Covid-19 through such safety measures as social distancing, temperature testing, disabling of the biometric sign in, and provision of hand sanitizers for staff and visitors to our offices nationwide as advised by the Federal Ministry of Health.

“Members of the public are therefore advised to discountenance the claim that an FIRS official has tested positive to Covid-19. For emphasis sake, it is a FAKE NEWS. Fake news kills. Do not spread fake news”.

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