The recent reforms to boost regulation as well as liquidity have enhanced Nigeria's capital markets and it's partly responsible for the robust rally in equities this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said.
The apex market regulator made this disclosure at the third Nigerian Capital Markets Workshop, an annual event hosted by Thomson Reuters, J.P. Morgan, The Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange.
SEC Director General, Ms. Arunma Oteh who was represented by Mrs Louisa Eni-Umukoro, Director, Collective Investment Schemes, said that by improving transparency and imposing accountability on all market intermediaries, SEC have made the markets safer for all investors, domestic as well as foreign.
She noted that "Introducing new measures such as Market Making and securities lending have boosted liquidity and trading. These factors, taken together with the growing international investor appetite for Nigeria have seen our markets rally by more than 40 per cent since the bottom in February of 2009."
According to her, a strong and secure secondary market will boost the primary market with companies returning to equity funding, which will in turn ensure that, in the near future, the nation's capital market is truly representative of the wider Nigerian economy."
Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema, Executive Director Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri, also recounted the number of steps taken by his organisation to strengthen governance as well as the equity and debt markets.
In his opening address Mr. Tosin Adewuyi, Managing Director and Senior Country Officer for Nigeria spoke about J.P. Morgan's commitment to Nigeria and the continued development of Nigeria's capital market. He noted the very high level of interest in the Nigerian capital markets by foreign investors and the associated positive impact on the economic development of Nigeria.
Leading a panel discussants on the importance of targeting institutional investors by Nigerian companies Mr. Keith Nichols, Managing Director, Africa, Thomson Reuters said: "Nigeria is an emerging economy with ties to a many of its peers, including the BRICs. Investors are looking for ways to expand business ties in the region through this market. Overseas enterprises view it as a logical first step toward greater involvement in Africa."
Anchoring another panel discussion on the internationalisation of Nigeria's capital markets Mr. Ibukun Adebayo, London Stock Exchange's Primary Markets Africa Head said, "With Nigeria poised to become Africa's largest economy, it's only natural for local companies to receive ever greater interest from the international financial community. London and London Stock Exchange will continue to be willing and able partners in financing Nigeria's rapid growth."