The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reaffirmed its commitment to making the capital market attractive to Nigerians of all ages and economic status.
Director General of the SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda stated this during a meeting with a team lead by the British Deputy High Commissioner in Abuja, Friday.
Yuguda said the Commission is implementing various initiatives to ensure that products and offerings in the market are accessible to both the young and old which he said would further deepen the market.
He said: “When we assumed office, we were shocked to know that the average age of the Central Securities Clearing System account holder was over 50 years. The CSCS is a depository so if you are investing in equities you must have a CSCS account.
“The average age of that account holder was over 50, and that told us that the young people were not participating in this market and when young people are not participating in any market, that market is doomed to fail.
“And young people today prefer to do things on their phones, if you have to fill a stack of forms manually young people won’t do it. We want to make investing in the capital market a fun experience.
“The capital market experience starts with a bank account and eventually the distribution has to hit a bank account as well. So we decided to look at the whole process and find out what is turning young people off. We have started the process and seen how the tech companies are providing much needed relief to the kind of bureaucracy that happens in the capital market.”
Yuguda disclosed that the SEC recently approved an e-offer for MTN and expressed the excitement of the Commission that Nigerians especially those of the younger age bracket were able to participate in the offer.
“It was marvellously successful and we are very excited about it. A lot of young people who had never invested in the capital market took the MTN offer. That is one of the first step in a lot of steps we are going to take to make investing in the capital market a much nicer experience for people both young and old. We know we can move quickly and faster once we strengthen our IT infrastructure to do a lot more,” he said.
“In this market what we have seen is that where people do have ready access to interesting products in the regulated market they then gravitate towards the parallel markets and the Ponzi schemes and really the task of the Commission is to as much as possible move money to the regulated market away from the Ponzi schemes”.
He stated that with e-offers, a lot of Nigerians would be happy to invest in the capital market and that would dissuade people from patronising illegal schemes thereby leading to the development of the capital market and the Nigerian economy.
Yuguda also stated that the Commission in its drive to attract more people to the market is focusing on a proper identity management system which would also aid in the reduction of the issue of unclaimed dividends.
He commended the relationship between the the UK government, the Commission and Nigeria which he said has contributed to the growth and development of the capital market
In his remarks, the British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Ben Llewellyn-Jones canvassed the need for the SEC to create more alternative options for investments for all classes of people as one of the ways of pulling people away from unregulated space.
He said: “The more you can create alternative options the easier it is to pull people away from unregulated space and that is why the Sandbox is so attractive to us and why we encourage it. We come across these fintech players and they are formidably driven in their vision.
“But we get a sense they need to work with regulators to make it work and they recognise that it’s the right way to be attracted to investment and grow the way they want. They are formidably talented as well and it is really encouraging. we are very keen to work with you and your approach and that’s very heartening and the appetite for innovation is what has attracted us to that the most.”