Stories by Akin Akinremi
The Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, has assured Nigerians of the commission’s readiness to ensure that the capital market remains a vibrant market that will attract both local and international investors.
Gwarzo gave the assurance at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja when he received members of the the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) who paid him a courtesy visit.
He said: “the current management would strive to develop domestic investment in the market, both retail and institutional investors”.
He added that, “We will step up to reach out to the market and improve investment. On the international side, what is most important is the environment. Right now the rules are very friendly and that is why we keep changing them from time to time to suit best practices and attract investors”.
He also said the commission would embark on investment in education both for retail and institutional to improve the level of investment from the domestic side.
Earlier in his remark, Mr. Albbert Okumagba, CIS President and Chairman of the Governing Council, said foreign investors control over 60 percent of the Nigerian Stock Market.
He added that the current situation where over 60 percent of the market is controlled by foreign investors was not good for the market, saying domestic investors should be encouraged to increase their participation.
He said: “The level of participation of our locals is effectively less than 3 million when ideally over 80 million of our people should be in the market.
“Our coverage of insurance assets in Nigeria is not up to two percent of insurable assets, if we can increase from two to 20 percent and then to 50 percent, we will be shocked at the kind of contribution that insurance can make.”
Okumagba expressed his dissatisfaction with the level of participation, adding that pension coverage was about eight percent, noting that if Nigerians that are supposed to be captured by the Pension Reforms Act come to stream, the country could do multiples of the N4.7 trillion that has been mobilized .
He added : “We have opportunities for our own domestic investors, the pension companies have over $25 billion, which they have taken as money and even though they have a room of about 25 percent to invest only about 12 percent of that have been invested.
“We believe that some factors that are holding the market down today will soon ease off, issues of security, election and crude oil prices, once the election are done with, the market will begin to stabilize”.