NSE seeks foreign investors, plans Islamic products


The mutualisation of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), may soon usher in new investors into the capital market, with further plans to introduce new issues, which would include Islamic products, the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Arunma Oteh, has said.


“The Nigerian Stock Exchange is in the ‘early stages’ of demutualisation and will probably hire a new chief executive officer by the end of this year,” Oteh said in an interview with an international agency in London at the weekend.


SEC had fired the previous Director-General, Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, last month, as part of the process to reform the market and make it competitive globally.


The bourse will consider selling stakes to outside investors, including foreign exchange operators, Oteh said. Building markets for Islamic finance, corporate bonds and exchange-traded funds will help attract investment into sub- Saharan Africa’s second-largest economy and the fifth-largest source of U.S. crude imports, she said.


“The role of the stock markets is particularly important as we seek to diversify our economy,” Oteh said.


“The marketplace has to be one that is world-class. Allowing both international investors and local investors to look at the exchange as something they can invest in is important.”


All- Share Index sank 65 per cent from December 2007 to the end of last year amid a banking crisis and reports of market abuses.


The All-Share gauge climbed 0.2 per cent to 24,277.14 on Friday, extending this year’s gain to 17 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


The SEC removed Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke as the NSE’s CEO after “inadequate oversight of the exchange, ongoing litigation, allegations of financial mismanagement, governance challenges, and the inordinate delays,” on a succession plan, the regulator said last month. Emmanuel Ikazoboh, a partner at Deloitte & Touche, was appointed as administrator.


The SEC plans to revoke some brokerages’ licences, Oteh said at a press conference in Bloomberg’s London office on Friday.


The Exchange is seeking to increase initial public offerings and Oteh said she expects new stock listings soon from companies in the energy and telecommunications industries.


Building a corporate bond market in Nigeria is a “priority,” Oteh said. Levels of benchmark interest rates, inflation and economic growth are “extremely supportive” for corporate bond issuance and a new tax law has made the debt more attractive for investors, Oteh said.


Source: Guardian




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