By Akin Akinremi
The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, has urged investors to take advantage of the current low prices of stocks, saying it is the better to invest when prices are low.
Despite the strong fundamentals of the listed companies, their shares are highly discounted due to weak demand at the stock market.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) to Fidelity Bank, Okonkwo said most investors were still reluctant to buy shares because of their experiences during the last market down turn.
“Now that prices are low, is the best time to invest and as things turn around, people will harvest. Like Warren Buffet said be greedy when others are fearful and be fearful when others are greedy. People are greedy when the market is rising because they can see and fearful when the market is down. Unfortunately, for many Nigerians the only time they knew about the market was when the market was booming, people were putting their money and they lost their money. So many of them are still skeptical about shares,” he said.
He therefore tasked CAMCAN members on investor-education, saying there is need for stakeholder education on financial inclusion in order to increase the numbers of domestic investors participating in the market.
“We need stakeholder education more now because we would be relying on journalists to let the people know, especially those who keep their money out of financial system, that financial inclusion is not just about people opening accounts in banks. It also includes access to capital market, that is those who do not know about shares. That is not only on opening accounts but also to learn to assess the capital market. This will increase domestic investors’ participation in the equity market,” he added.
Okonkwo said from the experience of Fidelity Bank in its savings promotion, creating awareness is very important in the financial inclusion drive.
“Our promo boosted our retrial business significantly just because awareness was created. And I believe if enough awareness is created about investment opportunities in the market, retail participation will increase significantly,” the Fidelity Bank Plc said.
The bank grew its deposit base to N829.9 billion in the half year ended June 30, 2016, from N769.6 billion recorded in the same period of 2015, an increase of 7.8 per cent.
Its net loans also rose impressively by 23 per cent from N578.2 billion to N711.0 billion, demonstrating its unwavering commitment towards supporting critical sectors of the economy.
According to the lender’s financial statement for the period, total assets increased by 17.2 per cent to N1.397 trillion from N1.192 trillion in 2015. It ended the period with a profit of N5.592 billion.