Capital Market:  Surest investment medium to beat Nigeria’s inflation — Amolegbe, President, CIS

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In this interview, the outgoing President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr Olatunde Amolegbe, a frontline economist, investment analyst and Fellow of CIS, offers some tips for investors in this period of uncertainty in the global financial market and mentioned some  of the Institute’s milestones during his administration.

How would you describe the Nigerian Capital Market at the moment?

The Nigerian Capital Market has reached the stage where we can comfortably say that the ghosts of the 2008 meltdown have been banished and the Chartered  Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) and other market operators are on sustainable upward growth trajectory. According to the  recent edition of The Nigerian Stockbroker, a publication of CIS, the last MTN Nigeria‘s electronic public offering, broke new boundaries by being the first public offering that permitted electronic subscription, enabling over 120,000 new investors from every part of the country to participate. CIS last year commenced remote examination,  which enabled candidates from different parts of the world to sit for the exams without having to travel down to Lagos. So, the market has matured and is growing in tandem with the rest of the world.

 What are the options for investors?

Whether it is equity or fixed income instruments, this is the time to invest through the Nigerian Capital Market. In recent years, many investors have achieved returns in excess of 30 – 60per cent in a year on Nigerian equities. The Capital market remains the surest regulated investment medium to beat inflation in Nigeria. In fact our market has been adjudged the best performing in Africa for some years, so Nigerian investors should take advantage and increase their investments. But it is advisable that they should seek advice of stockbrokers. They need these professionals to assist them in what we call risk and reward trade-off in investment in various asset classes.

Congratulations on the commencement of the study of Securities and Investment at Mountain Top University (MTU). What other efforts is the Institute making to get more universities involved?

We have actually secured the commencement of Capital Market studies in a few other institutions like Nasarawa State University where Prof Uche Uwaleke, a Chartered Stockbroker teaches. It’s just to get the NUC accreditation to run as a full programme as it is in MTU. I do not want to mention names, but I assure you that several other universities will soon commence the programme.

 How will the Institute attract more millennials into the capital market?

We are attracting the millennials already. The entire capital market is a very attractive area for Nigerian youths because of the excitement, the dynamism, and of course the fact that the market is accessible on various online platforms and this enhances interest of the millennials, Generation Z and others. There is no gainsaying, many investors are making good money by playing the market. Every year, we embark on a Career Talk drive at various educational institutions  across the country. Many students turn up and register for our examinations  during the events. In the last three years,  we have also been carrying out the Capital Market Quiz Competition for tertiary institutions. Last year, it was won by Tai Solarin University of Education, with Obafemi Awolowo University as the runner up. Our computer-based and remote exams have also endeared us to the youths in Nigeria.

 To what extent is the Institute collaborating with other professional bodies in the Capital Market?

As a full-fledged Chartered Institute in the capital market, we work in harmony with the various  Self-Regulatory Organisations (SROs)  and many other professional associations in the market. In fact, there is hardly any of these bodies that don’t have CIS members in their midst. So, we work as a team for the overall growth and development of the market. The law clearly defines the responsibilities of CIS and I believe our friends do recognise that, so the market is a one big hap family.

 How has the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) been handling the issue of advocacy?

I must state at the outset that advocacy is an area which  is very dear to the Institute’s Council and Management. We have been more active in the last few years. We owe it an obligation to grow our membership base and also encourage investors in different classes to participate in the market.  Last year, the Institute hosted two Honorable Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Zainab Ahmed, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, to an enormously successful 3rd CIS’ National Workshop at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. The thrust of that Workshop was the establishment of a clear path towards achieving accelerated, double digit economic growth for Nigeria. Thereafter, we had our 25th Annual Stockbrokers‘ Conference where we inducted over 300 newly qualified stockbrokers and welcomed 40 new Fellows. Early last month, the Institute inaugurated CIS Academy. Few weeks after, it opened its first liaison office in Abuja FCT. These symbolise the positive growth trajectory of the Institute and her increased popularity across the country.

 The Institute last year announced that it had commenced Online Examination. Can you shed light on this?

I am happy to place on record that the National Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) for the curriculum for Securities and Investment as first degree programmes in Nigeria. In 2021, the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers commenced remote (online) examinations to cater for our students resident in various countries across the world. Also in 2021, the Institute carried out a comprehensive review of its Disciplinary Tribunal Rules to reflect changes in dispute resolution processes and also ensure that the right of all parties are well protected. The reviewed rules were subsequently approved by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN.  Finally, I’ll like to mention the Institute’s Life Insurance Scheme has benefitted the families of seven of our colleagues who passed on in the last two years. These are some of that achievements of our Administration.

 Can you shed more light on what really informed the inauguration of the CIS Academy?

The law granting the charter to CIS gave it  four cardinal mandates, and one of the core mandates is providing the required training and examination for both our students and qualified stockbrokers alike. We are at the forefront of advancing capital market literacy in Nigeria. Therefore, training occupies a very special place at CIS. We cannot set examination for people who we have not trained. After certification, we still have to provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to our members, to bring them up to date with current trends in the industry. Beyond this, CIS being a specialised training institution has to extend its service to the general public, especially for subjects in the finance, securities and investment fields. The is the rationale for having CIS Academy.

 What is unique about this Academy, compared to similar ones?

We have the seal of government to provide appropriate training and certification in Securities and Investment. For people attending our courses, the first assurance is that they are dealing with a training provider that has ‘locus standi,’ that is, authority in the field. From this, automatically, comes competence and quality. What you get from CIS is world class training from first rate facilitators with proven track record in the subjects they teach. Finally, you’ll also discover that our pricing is about the most competitive in the industry: That is due to our deliberate effort to bring capital market education to all, irrespective of class or region.

 Congratulations on the opening  of a liaison office in Abuja. Can you shed light on this milestone?

Actually, we have been on this for a few years now. The Abuja office is just the first in a series that will materialise over the next few years. The reality is that the Securities and Investment profession is becoming more popular due to our capital market roadshows and advocacy activities over the years. It is just natural that we make our physical presence felt in key geographical points across the country. Naturally, we are starting with Abuja because it is the nations’s capital city. We will move to other zones in the course of time.

 What would you like to be remembered for as a Past President of the Institute?

Olatunde Mohammed Amolegbe is that humble city gentleman who accepted to lead at a time that the entire country was in turmoil, gave his best for the capital market and the Institute, and bowed out with meaningful legacies for his successors to build on. My priority has always been to enhance the Institute’s brand positioning by increasing its visibility via advocacy, while putting the members’ welfare on the front burner. I thank God that I am living the Institute into the hand of tested professionals that we share the same vision.