interviewBy Bukola Idowu
The Chief Executive Officer of the Lambeth Trust Investment Company Limited, Mr David Adonri, a pharmacist turned stockbroker, speaks on how his company scaled the margin loan crisis that rocked the capital market in this interview with Bukola Idowu.
Tell us about yourself
I am David Imafidon Adonri, I am Edo by tribe and was born in Benin City, Edo State on 9th April 1957. I graduated from the University of Benin, Benin City in 1979 with a Bachelors Degree in Pharmacy. After my internship at the Specialist Hospital in Benin City, I did my National Service as Chief Pharmacist of Infectious Diseases Hospital, Kano in 1980/1981. I started my career in the private sector in 1982 with The Boots Company, a British Pharmaceutical Multinational Company.
From there, I worked in the Nigerian division of Mitsui & Co (MBK), a Japanese multinational. Among the places I worked at before coming to the finance industry were Health Aid Ltd and WATA Textiles Ltd. I started my career in the finance industry in 1992 when I joined Partnership Investment Co. Ltd. I eventually trained at ICMG Securities Ltd and qualified as a Chartered Stockbroker in 1997.
I am married with two children; my daughter is ten years old while my son is seven years old. I am a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers of Nigeria.
What was it like growing up?
I grew up in a polygamous home. The challenges of growing up under such a situation were quite enormous and my early life was influenced by my extended family and the Anglican Communion in Benin City. I attended Anglican Schools for both Primary and Secondary education. The part of my early life I remember with nostalgia is my membership of the Choir of St Peter's Anglican Church in Benin City. At Eghosa Anglican Grammar School in Benin City, I developed the penchant for leadership.
In addition to being the Class Monitor in several classes, I served as house prefect in my final year. The period I spent at Edo College in Benin City for my Higher School Certificate was quite brief but exciting. Studying at the University of Benin in the 1970s was very pleasant and the academic environment was highly enabling. The socio-political landscape enabled us to freely develop our potential in various areas of non-academic human endeavours. I also found fulfillment in student politics where I served as house secretary to the Students Union.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration in life?
I am inspired by the ideals of selflessness and service. From childhood when I joined The Nigerian Red Cross Society, my inspiration has been selfless service to mankind. This eventually inspired my choice of a career in healthcare. My leadership exploits over the years were further demonstrations of my quest for selfless service.
Our Lord Jesus Christ remains the greatest inspiration. My earlier practice of pharmacy and lately finance have been guided principally by the teachings in the book of Proverbs because of the high ethical standards required in these fields.
Did you at any point in your life imagined that you would be in the financial sector, particularly as a stockbroker?
My entry into the finance industry was quite accidental. It was not premeditated. I tried to raise a loan to finance a raw materials business from my friend's finance company but eventually ended up working for the company. The inspiration to deepen my knowledge in the field of finance eventually led me into training as a Stockbroker.
How were you able to cope with your movement from the medical field to finance sector?
Pharmaceutical science is centered around rational thinking while finance is based on logical thinking. Therefore, the switch from the former to the latter was quite tedious. Accounting was the most problematic at the initial stage. Once I mastered it, it became easy to comprehend the principles of financial management, economics and other courses including commercial and financial law.
Unlike the pure and applied sciences where the principles are exact, age long and of universal applicability, economics and finance are still evolving. Hence for one with intellectual inclination, operating in the finance industry is stimulating due to its ever changing intellectual content.
The capital market has been through thick and thin with some stock broking firms closing shop along the way. How have you been able to survive the market meltdown?
The global financial crisis adversely affected all capital market operators. However, the effect on our balance sheet in Lambeth Trust was minimal because we were not involved in the infamous margin loan bazaar.
Has your profession affected your family life in anyway?
Stock broking is a wonderful profession and has positively affected my family life. Because Stock broking is intellectually consuming, it enables me to spend more time at home studying with my family. However, the reduced income due to the state of the capital market makes it difficult to meet most of our current maintenance needs.
What is your take on the proposed forbearance package for the capital market by the federal government and in what way do you think it will impact the capital market?
Market operators are still awaiting the nature and shape of the proposed forbearance package. If the purpose is merely to give debtors an additional grace period, it may be difficult to rescue the vast majority of them. As a result of the meltdown, several stock broking firms and underwriters suffered severe damages to their balance sheets.
This category of debtors can only be rescued by debt forgiveness because, having surrendered all their underlying assets to AMCON, they no longer possess any means of repayment. The forbearance package may be of no benefit to many stock broking firms whose balance sheets have been so severely damaged and only complete debt forgiveness can rescue them.
There is growing popular consensus that the combination of forbearance and forgiveness should be applied in resolving the debt overhang in the capital market. Because time is of essence in dispensing these palliatives, as a result of mounting interest on the debts, further delay may worsen the comatose state of market operators affected.
If you were to address a group of upcoming stockbrokers, what would your advice to them be?
The capital market is still in its infancy of development in Nigeria. The market has untapped potential which will provide opportunities into the future, therefore young Stockbrokers just entering the market need to be patient and ethical.