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FBNH notifies the exchange of the appointment of three new executive directors

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First Bank Holding Plc, the parent company of First Bank Limited has announced the appointment of three (3) new executive directors.

In a notice signed by the company’s secretary, Seye Kosoko and filed with The Exchange, the group notified the investing public of the additional executive directors.

According to the disclosure, the three executive directors are Mr. Olusegun Alebiosu, Mr. Oluwatosin Adewuyi, and Mr. Ini Ebong. It is worth noting, however, that the appointment of these directors is still subject to approval by the apex bank, the CBN.

Mr. Olusegun Alebiosu has been appointed as Executive Director, Risk Management & Executive Compliance Officer. Before joining FirstBank, Mr. Olusegun was the Chief Credit Officer at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) where he led Risk teams in various areas including financial institutions, trade finance (to support African Banks), and critical infrastructure projects across Africa.

Prior to AfDB, he worked at the United Bank for Africa Plc in various risk capacities including credit policy, credit risk management, agriculture, trade, retail and specialized lending.

Mr. Oluwatosin Adewuyi was appointed as Executive Director, Corporate Banking. Prior to the appointment, Mr. Oluwatosin was Group Executive, Corporate Banking where he was responsible for the Bank’s corporate banking business following the exit of the previous Executive Director.

He was until recently Executive Director of FBNBank UK, a role he occupied when he joined the FirstBank family in 2017. Under his leadership, the corporate banking franchise achieved significant growth in assets and net revenue.

He was also able to reposition the business and portfolio of FBNBank UK in line with our revised strategy for the franchise and pioneered collaborations between FirstBank, FBNBank UK and our African subsidiaries via the Global Account Management program.

Mr. Ini Ebong Ini has been appointed as Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking. Prior to this appointment, he was the Group Executive in charge of the Treasury and International Banking at FirstBank.

In this role, he is responsible for the Bank’s Treasury business, its international banking franchise across sub-Saharan Africa covering six countries (Democratic Republic of Congo,

The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Senegal and Sierra Leone), the Bank’s Custody business, servicing local and international clients, and the Bank’s Financial Institutions business, which covers its relationships with domestic and international correspondent banks, multilateral agencies, development finance institutions and nonbank financial institutions.

Until recently, he was also responsible for the Structured Trade and Commodity Finance business.

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Crypto: SEC launches new initiative to speed up VASP registration

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The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched a new program aimed at speeding up the registration process of Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASP).

According to the regulatory body, the new program will serve as an amendment to existing rules and is targeted at improving the current regulatory framework to fit the existing complexities of the crypto industry in the country.

In March, the Nigerian SEC announced steep changes to its Rules on Digital Assets Issuance, Offering Platforms, Exchange, and Custody.

The most significant aspect of the change was the increase in registration fees of VASPs from 30 million naira ($20,161) to 150 million ($100,806) which raised much criticism and speculation because of the potential to reduce business participation.

The latest adjustment was announced in a memo on June 21 unveiling a specific amendment to these VASP registration rules which introduces the Accelerated Regulatory Incubation Program (ARIP).

The new program which is expected to last for 30 days creates a window of opportunity for all “operating and prospective” VASPs in Nigeria to speedily complete all requirements thus ensuring full compliance across board.

The commission mandated all active and existing VASPs in the country to head to the SEC ePortal to commence the Accelerated Regulatory Incubation Program.

All defaulting VASPs are liable to prosecution by the nation’s regulatory body.

The new initiative is another brainchild of SEC Chief Emomotimi Agama who rode into office with a crypto-friendly reputation but his actions and initiatives since entering office have resonated wrongly on the stakeholders in the Nigerian crypto space.

One of his loudest Anti-crypto policies occurred in May when the SEC chief led an onslaught on the listing of the Naira on various crypto exchanges. The SEC chief argued that Peer-to-peer trading of the naira on crypto exchanges is responsible for the devaluation of Nigeria’s local currency.

The onslaught led to several crypto exchanges like Binance and Kucoin delisting Naira from their platform.

The SEC’s body language so far reflects a stringent approach to regulating cryptocurrency and its entities in Nigeria.

In December 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria lifted its two-year prohibition on banks operating accounts for VASPs in a bid to embrace a more friendly regulatory approach towards cryptocurrencies rather than banning them outright.

Despite this positive move, Microfinance banks remained banned from facilitating crypto transactions. This development coupled with the hike in registration fees and the latest ARIP program suggests that the SEC is bent on upholding very strict regulatory measures for the crypto industry in Nigeria.

Nigeria is among the countries with very high and fast crypto adoption. Over 22 million people (10.3 percent) of the population are active crypto owners.

The crackdown on peer-to-peer naira trading by the Nigerian SEC resulted in Binance and Kucoin delisting the naira from its platform.

The Nigerian authorities and Binance limited, the largest crypto exchange in the world are currently amid a spat that led to the detention of a Binance executive in a Nigerian prison. The spat between both groups has made the headlines in most top news outlets.

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GTCO rated Nigeria’s ‘Strongest Brand and Best Banking Brand’ in Nigeria

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By Seun Ibiyemi

Africa’s leading financial services institution, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO), has added to its impressive haul of accolades as it was recently named Nigeria’s strongest brand and Best Banking Brand in Nigeria by Brand Finance and Global Brands Magazine, respectively.

These awards not only reaffirm GTCO’s position as a leading financial services group but also spotlights the Group’s enduring reputation as a customer-focused brand.

Over the years, GTCO has demonstrated remarkable commitment to shaping the future of financial services in Africa and is renowned for its innovative approach to customer service and stakeholder engagement.

The Group’s brand strength is underpinned by a strong commitment to delivering cutting-edge financial solutions, fostering meaningful customer relationships, and Promoting Enterprise using its proprietary free business platforms.

Commenting on the two awards, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Segun Agbaje, said, “These achievements are a reflection of our unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and customer satisfaction, as well as to building a truly international brand from our proudly African roots.

“We are delighted to receive these recognitions and inspired to continue delivering our promise of enriching lives with every opportunity.”

GTCO is a leading financial services group with banking operations in Nigeria, West Africa, East Africa, and the United Kingdom alongside non-banking verticals in HabariPay, Guaranty Trust Fund Managers, and Guaranty Trust Pension Managers.

Its leadership in the banking industry and efforts at empowering people and communities has earned it many prestigious awards over the years.

The Group’s flagship banking franchise, Guaranty Trust Bank, was named Nigeria’s Best Bank and Best Bank in CSR at the 2023 Euromoney Awards for Excellence, Best Banking Group in Nigeria by World Finance, and Best Bank in Nigeria by Global Finance.

Guaranty Trust Bank is featured in the Top 1000 Banks in the World and Top 100 Banks in Africa rankings by The Banker.

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SEC introduces guidelines for banks to raise capital efficiently

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By Opeyemi Abdulsalam

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has introduced a comprehensive framework to support the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) bank recapitalisation program.

This framework aims to ensure a seamless, transparent, and efficient process for banks and holding companies to raise capital.

The framework serves as a guide for banks and market participants, outlining the necessary procedures and guidelines for raising capital through various methods, including rights offerings and private placements, between 2024 and 2026.

The SEC recognises the importance of strengthening banks’ asset base and supporting economic growth, as highlighted by the CBN’s directive.

The framework acknowledges the crucial role of the capital market in facilitating this program, enabling banks to access necessary funds and explore business combinations.

According to the SEC, this framework will ensure an efficient, transparent, and stakeholder-friendly capital raising process.

The SEC has established a streamlined application process, requiring electronic submission of applications and supporting documents via a dedicated email address.

The commission will review applications, communicate any deficiencies to applicants, and expect prompt resolution to avoid delays. Incomplete applications will incur penalties, including a N1,000,000 fine and N100,000 re-filing fee, encouraging banks to submit complete and accurate information.

The SEC encourages inquiries and clarifications via a dedicated email address, ensuring open communication and efficient navigation of the process.

Building on existing regulations, this framework should be read in conjunction with relevant provisions of the Investment and Securities Act, 2007, and the Commission’s Rules and Regulations.

In response to the CBN’s directive, the SEC framework provides a clear guide for banks and market participants, aiming to strengthen Nigeria’s banking sector and support economic growth.

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