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Economy

Flee from Investments with Unrealistic Returns—SEC Warns Nigerians

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investment hub

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

For the umpteenth time, Nigerians have been warned to flee from investments that promise to offer them unrealistic returns as this will end in premium tears.

This warning was given by the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, when he addressed newsmen at the end of the quarterly Capital Market Committee (CMC) meeting held last week.

According to him, Ponzi schemes are known to disappoint investors and Nigerians should be very careful with them and must treat them with caution.

He described a Ponzi scheme as a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organisation, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned through legitimate sources.

Mr Yuguda called on Nigerians to always check the website of the commission for a list of approved capital market operators before making such investment decisions, warning the investing public against making hasty investment decisions when the returns on such investment are too attractive.

The SEC DG assured that the commission will continue to work with relevant agencies of government and other critical stakeholders in the capital market to tackle the issue of Ponzi schemes.

He urged every capital market operator to conduct their businesses within the market functions approved for it by SEC, noting that the agency will not hesitate to deal decisively with any operator who carries out any activity outside its approved function.

“The commission continues its campaign against illegal operators in the capital market, especially Ponzi schemes and has adopted multi-level engagements with media platforms and regulators of publicity agencies in order to curb the reach and activities of these illegal operators.

“While we continue our activities to resolve the complaints that have been forwarded to the commission through the official channels, it is important to reiterate to the investing public to be wary of unscrupulous schemes that promise unrealistic returns on investment.

“We will like to use this opportunity to reiterate our commitment towards zero tolerance for market infractions. We urge every capital market operator to operate within the market functions approved for it by the commission.

“The commission will not hesitate to deal decisively with any operator who carries out any activities outside the function(s) approved for it by the commission,” he said, adding that, “No capital market can grow without discipline and adherence to laid down rules and regulations.”

On the performance of the capital market, he said the committee observed that market performance has been mixed, driven largely by domestic and global economic factors, the impact and responses to the pandemic and the regulatory environment.

In line with its mandate, he said the agency has been working on some initiatives that would put the market on the path to recovery.

He explained that the commission has registered two fintech capital market operators, which include a digital fund portfolio manager and a digital sub-broker, noting that more would be registered in due course.

Mr Yuguda stated that the agency has also approved some derivative contracts, developed the regulatory framework for derivatives trading as well as rules on Interoperability of Central Securities Depositories in Nigeria.

As part of measures to deepen the commodities ecosystem, he stated that SEC held engagements with the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) towards de-risking and insuring certain commodity assets, which we believe will attract more investments within the space, particularly from the pensions industry.

A technical committee was also constituted comprising representatives of the Commission, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), AFEX, Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE) & Nigerian Commodities Exchange (NCX) to deliver agro-based standards within 3 months.

To develop an effective price discovery mechanism for the commodities ecosystem, he said a technical committee has been constituted for this purpose with the mandate of developing modalities for this exercise.

On the due date for renewal of registration, he said the registration portal has been reopened until August 31, 2021.

This, according to him, is to enable operators that are yet to update their information with the commission to do so before the end of the new deadline.

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.

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Economy

Agusto Forecasts Nigeria’s Pension Assets to Grow to N14.8trn Amid Headwinds

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Nigeria's pension assets

By Adedapo Adesanya

Global research firm, Agusto & Co, has forecast that Nigeria’s pension assets will reach N14.8 trillion by the end of 2022.

This is as unpaid pension obligations by some employers, enrolees’ apathy toward the transfer of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), and the ability of industry operators to protect the value of pension funds in the face of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly a weakening exchange rate and soaring inflation, are at the heart of the industry’s current problems.

Agusto noted that in the last decade, the 628 per cent surge in the size of pension fund assets to N14.27 trillion is indicative of the industry’s growth and evolution following legislative support provided by the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2004 and the amendment in 2014.

However, the rising rates of emigration and unemployment in the last five years have slowed down the growth rate in pension contributions. If individuals who fall within these groups, who are eligible to access a 25 per cent lump sum of their pension assets, exercise the withdrawal option, it could cause the growth of assets under management (AuM) to stagnate.

The 3 per cent decline in the industry’s annual contribution remitted to the RSAs in 2021 underlines this growing threat and National Pension Commission (PenCom) approval to use 25 per cent of the amount of a pension contributor’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA) to pay for an equity contribution for a mortgage may lead to a decline in pension AuM in the medium term.

The research firm noted that low yield in investible outlets amid a 17-year high headline inflation rate of 20.52 per cent will lead to a contraction in the real value of AuM over time and implies that pension fund contributors could be worse off in retirement.

It was noted that this would renew interest in diversifying investments into foreign-denominated securities to improve returns and preserve value but warned that the prohibition on PFAs from acquiring foreign currencies directly through official channels might hinder this.

However, Agusto & Co. expects the pension sector to remain robust, given the industry’s strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the need to align the Nigerian pension scheme more closely with international standards in the near term.

Agusto & Co. also estimates that growth in pension assets will slow from a five-year average of 19 per cent to around 10 per cent in 2022 due to a combination of a muted interest rate environment and a slowdown in the rate of contributions which has been impacted by mass emigration and high unemployment.

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Economy

NASD OTC Down as FrieslandCampina Loses 3.85%

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FrieslandCampina

By Adedapo Adesanya

FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc dragged the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange down by 0.6 per cent on Tuesday, October 4, after its share price fell by N3.00 or 3.85 per cent to N75.00 per unit from N78.00 per unit.

It was the resumption of trading activities on the NASD OTC exchange yesterday after the public holiday declared on Monday to mark Nigeria’s 62nd year of independence.

The loss posted by the leading diary company in Nigeria reduced the NASD unlisted securities index (NSI) by 4.45 points yesterday to 731.34 points from 735.79 points.

Equally, the market capitalisation of the bourse diminished by N5.85 billion to wrap the day at N962.75 billion compared with the preceding session’s N968.60 billion.

Yesterday, the unlisted securities market finished without a price gainer.

It was observed that the volume of transactions depreciated on Tuesday by 72.2 per cent as investors only traded a total of 29,331 units of shares in contrast to the 105,440 units of shares transacted last Friday.

However, the value of the stocks bought and sold by investors jumped by 37.6 per cent to N2.2 million from the previous session’s N1.6 million, while the number of deals executed by traders went down by 33.3 per cent as only four deals were carried out yesterday compared with the six deals completed in the previous session.

When the market ended for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc was in second place with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, and Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units valued at N313.4 million.

In the same vein, CSCS Plc finished the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, and FrieslandCampina closed in place for trading 14.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion.

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Economy

Naira Closes Flat Against Dollar After Independence Break

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strong dollar demand Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The first trading session after the Independence Day break at the various windows of the foreign exchange (forex) market was stable in Nigeria as the Nigerian currency traded flat against the United States Dollar on Tuesday, except for the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment, where it appreciated.

In the market window, the Naira was exchanged to the Dollar at N749/$1 compared with the preceding session’s exchange rate of N752/$1, indicating that it was strengthened by N3.

However, the local currency remained unchanged against the greenback at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the currency market yesterday at N437.03/$1.

In the same vein, the domestic currency traded flat against the American currency on Tuesday at N740/$1.

In addition, the Nigerian currency closed flat against the Pound Sterling at the interbank segment of the market at N469.88/£1 and also remained unchanged against the Euro in the same market window yesterday at N420.75/€1.

Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency market, Dogecoin jumped over 7 per cent after news broke that Mr Elon Musk, an advocate of the asset, may finally purchase Twitter on the deal’s original terms after months of drama.

Mr Musk’s attorneys sent a letter to Twitter, proposing to buy the social media company for his original offer price of $54.20 per share. Within minutes of the news breaking, DOGE shot up 7.6 to $0.0649.

Also, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 4.5 per cent jump to trade at $0.4761, Solana (SOL) recorded a 2.8 per cent rise to sell at $34.04, Bitcoin (BTC) gained 2.7 per cent to quote at $20,136.08, and Binance Coin (BNB) added 2.4 per cent to sell for $294.46.

Further, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 1.6 per cent to $1,351.80, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 1.0 per cent rise to trade at $0.4322, and Litecoin (LTC) climbed up by 0.9 per cent to sell at $54.81, while Binance USD and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00 each at the close of business.

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