CSCS Records 162.5 % Revenue Growth As Shareholders Approve N4.3billion  Div.

CSCS 26 AGM
CSCS 26 AGM
Shareholders at the 26th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) approved N0.86 dividend per share payout to it’s members The AGM was held by proxy at the Nigerian Stock Exchange Event Centre, Lagos whilst
observing relevant social distancing protocols and hygiene, aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19.
Following the approval of N0.86 dividend per share proposed by the Board, CSCS would be paying a total of N4.3billion to its shareholders, some 22.8% year-on-year growth in return to shareholders, when compared to N3.5 billion dividend (i.e N0.70 dividend per share) paid in the previous year.
Speaking on the performance of the company, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema commended the resilience of CSC amidst market volatility and waning transaction volumes in 2019: “This set of results and impressive returns to shareholders are commendable, particularly when put in the perspective of the relatively weak liquidity in the market in 2019. This feat reflects the tenacity of the management in diversifying the business and commitment to cost efficiency. Whilst transaction fees waned, it is satisfying that CSCS sustained both top and bottom-line growths, with revenue and profit before tax of N9.1billion and N6.3 billion respectively”, the Chairman noted.
Also commenting on the results, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri said; “my colleagues and I remain committed to our earnings growth and cost efficiency philosophies , as we are driven by the ultimate objective of creating superior value for shareholders and enhancing market efficiencies. I am pleased with the 165% growth in non-core earnings, reflecting our tenacity towards diversifying the business. More importantly, the overall performance reflects the pay-off of our painstaking investment in people and new technologies, as we strengthen our capacity to serve our participants better and meet anticipatory need of the market.”
“Notwithstanding the inflationary environment, we closed 2019FY with 31.5% cost-to-income ratio, demonstrating continuous improvement in cost efficiency. As we deliver on our strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the post-trade segment of the Nigerian capital market, we are upbeat on the earnings outlook of the Company, with expectations of delivering superior returns to shareholder over the long term”, Mr Jalo-Waziri added.
While speaking beyond the financials, the Chief Executive Officer highlighted that CSCS will continue to strengthen its partnership with all market stakeholders towards deepening the market for mutual growth. “In 2019, we seamlessly delivered on our core responsibilities of safe depository, clearing and settlement of capital market transactions, but these do not excite us, as we are not in business for these table stakes, which we consider to be routine. We have greater and audacious ambitions of partnering with our stakeholders in realizing the huge potentials of the Nigerian capital market through innovations. I am pleased that we are laying solid foundations for creating value and impactful innovations for the Nigerian market, even as we reckon the odds”, the CEO noted.
Whilst speaking on the Coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Jalo-Waziri noted that the company activated its Business Continuity Plan requiring staff to work from home well ahead of the Federal Government’s lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.
Mr. Jalo—Waziri concluded, “I am happy to report that we continue to seamlessly serve the market remotely, extracting the benefits of our proactive investments in new technologies and people. Whilst operating remotely over the past eight weeks, we continue to record 99.99% uptime across all our channels, with a resounding commitment to efficiently support all primary and secondary market transactions through this challenging time, and always.”
CSCS has a diversified shareholder base, including the Nigerian Stock Exchange, some of the largest Nigerian banks, private equity firms, other institutional investors and thousands of retail investors. The shares are traded over-the-counter through the NASD-OTC, the premier market for trading unquoted securities of public limited companies. As at Friday, 22 May 2020, the b bid/ask quote on the shares of CSCS indicate a price of N12.69 per share, having rallied over 70% in the past two years.

Shareholders Commend Sterling Bank’s 2019 Financial Performance

Sterling Bank
Sterling Bank
Shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc have expressed delight with its financial performance and dividend payout for the financial year ended December 31, 2019. They gave the commendation at the 58th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bank held virtually by proxy and streamed live from the MUSON Centre in Lagos.

Speaking at the meeting,Boniface Okezie, President, Progressive Shareholders said “Our bank’s Annual General Meeting is always a day of celebration; a day to give kudos to the board, management and entire workforce for their hard work. But we are constrained by COVID-19 and cannot roll out the drums to celebrate the achievement of our bank today. All the same, we thank the board and management for the impressive outing in 2019 and the dividend recommendation.

“Looking at performance highlights, the bank has done a lot to grow our assets to N1.182 trillion. Loans and advances have also grown, operating income has grown, and our deposit base should hit N1 trillion by next year. We commend the board for retaining earnings, protecting shareholders’ funds, and ensuring there is no insider abuse as it relates to loans. We are happy that our bank is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 and keeping the environment clean through its support for LAWMA.

Also speaking, Sir Sunny Nwosu, National Coordinator Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) appreciated the increase in the bank’s demand deposit which went up by 47 percent and described it as “quite good.”

As a shareholder who is also a customer of the bank, Sir Nwosu was full of appreciation for the way employees of the bank attend to customers and expressed the hope that this excellent service delivery would continue to differentiate Sterling Bank post-COVID-19.

Nonah Awoh, a shareholder, commended the bank for its level of financial disclosure. He said, “I don’t think it is out of place to have payments of external assessors stated. I want other companies to learn from Sterling Bank and do the same.”

Also, Mr. Gbenga Idowu, National Coordinator of Shareholders United Front (SUF), commended the bank’s strategic focus on the HEART sectors, affirming the importance of these critical sectors to national growth and development in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Idowu urged the bank to remain committed to these critical sectors, most especially agriculture, which he described as the future of the country. The HEART sectors are Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation.

Mathew Akinlade, President, Noble Shareholders Association also commended the bank for bringing down its Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio from 8.7 percent in 2018 to 2.2 percent in 2019, a development which he described as below the benchmark of five percent prescribed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. He lauded the bank for compliance which reduced penalties for contraventions in 2019 by 73.3% compared to 2018.

Addressing the shareholders at the meeting, Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Asue Ighodalo said the bank’s shareholders’ fund grew by 22.2 percent to N119.6 billion because of increase in retained earnings despite the challenging operating environment under which it operated during the financial year ended December 31, 2019.

The Chairman said the recorded growth in total equity was attributable to growth in comprehensive income arising from gains recorded from investments in debt securities. He added that the Board of Directors recognised the importance of dividends to its shareholders and constantly sought to balance this with capital requirements to support the bank’s next wave of
growth.

“Accordingly, the Board recommends the payment of three kobo per share as dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019 to reward our loyal and committed shareholders. This affords the bank the required buffer to finance its growth ambitions, and effectively become a first-class, stronger, creative and extremely dependable financial institution,” he said.

Q1, 2020: Sterling Bank Grows Net Trading Income By 126.2 Percent

Sterling Bank Plc, a full service national commercial bank, has reported a net operating income of N18.779 billion during its first quarter ended March 31, 2020 compared with N18.565 billion during the corresponding period of 2019, representing an increase of 1.2 percent.
This was made public in the bank’s condensed unaudited group interim financial statement released over the weekend.!
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of the bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, explained that the bank’s net trading income grew remarkably to N984 million as against N435 million during the corresponding period, representing an increase of 126.2 percent, despite a very challenging macro-economic environment.
Overall, the Bank recorded gross earnings and profit after tax of N32.9 billion and N2.065 billion respectively for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020.
The bank’s marginal drop in net profit was attributed to a combination of decline in fees and commission income following the downward review of transactional charges and a slight increase in total expenses which rose from N15.3 billion in 2019 to N16.6 billion in 2020. The increase was driven mainly by other operating expenses as well as depreciation and amortization costs. Income tax expense also went up from N33 million in 2019 to N154 million in 2020.
However, the bank was able to reduce its non-performing loans from 2.2 percent to two percent during the review period.
The CEO added that the bank’s deposit base rose to N898.576 billion in the first quarter of 2020 from N892.660 billion in the corresponding period of 2019, loans and advances up to N627.122 billion from N618.732 while total assets rose to N1.231 trillion from N1.182 trillion, representing a growth of 4.1 percent.
Also, during the review period, the bank managed to reduce cost of funds further by 18.4% on the back of growth in low cost deposits, resulting in a growth in net interest income to N15.449 billion.
Sterling Bank has an authorised share capital of N16 billion, made up of 32 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of which N14.395 had been issued and fully paid-up and a share premium of N42.8 billion.

SEC Reopens Head Office, Harps On Full Disclosure by CMOs

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has reminded regulated entities in the capital market to continue to make adequate disclosures on the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses
This was contained in a circular by the Commission to provide update to stakeholders in the Capital Market, Monday.
The circular states, “While we continue to monitor the evolvement of the pandemic and its impact on the capital market, all regulated entities are reminded to make adequate disclosures and report on how the pandemic is impacting operations and discharge of services to investors and other stakeholders.
“We also wish to assure investors that while efforts are on-going to ensure that capital market services remain accessible, the Commission’s priority is the protection of investors. Kindly contact us through sec@sec.gov.ng for complaints and enquiries.
The SEC also stated that following the Federal Government’s partial easing of the lockdown measures introduced to minimize the spread of Covid-19 across Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has reopened its head office in Abuja.
According to the circular, the Commission, in compliance with the various guidelines issued by relevant authorities, said its office is open to members of the public between 10 a.m. and 1p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
However, due to the need to protect its stakeholders and members of staff, the Commission has advised very strongly that Stakeholders use its various e-channels to communicate and interact with the Commission and that Physical visits should only be considered as a last resort.
Other guidelines issued by the SEC are that all meetings and events will be convened electronically until further notice; All filings shall continue to be received electronically; All visitors will be subjected to temperature checks and hand sanitization before gaining access to the Commission’s building; and also visitors are expected to wear facemasks and abide by social distancing rules while present in the Commission’s facility.
The Commission stated that personal visits are not allowed at this time adding that visitors would be expected to state their purpose and identify themselves at the entrance.
The SEC also strongly recommends that appointments are booked in advance of physical visits.
The SEC therefore advised all capital market stakeholders to continue to adhere to the safety guidelines issued by the NCDC and other relevant agencies on Covid-19. Together, we will overcome this pandemic.

NSE To Support Fight Against COVID-19 with N100m

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has announced the donation of the sum of N100 Million to support the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Nigeria. N60 Million out of this sum will be donated to the Capital Market Support Committee for COVID-19 (CMSCC), while the balance N40 Million will be devoted to the “Masks For All Nigerians” campaign.

A statement made available to Businessupdate explained that the CMSCC is a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) led committee, comprised of the capital market community and set up to galvanize the capital market ecosystem to play an active role in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. In addition to its efforts as part of CMSCC, the “Masks For All Nigerians” campaign will see the NSE donate over 100,000 reusable face masks to states most affected by COVID-19. In addition, The Exchange will run an enlightenment program on the safe use of masks on traditional and social media.

This initiative comes on the back of a growing call for the use of masks as an effective measure in slowing the spread of COVID-19. With the increasing body of evidence that the use of masks by the populace could slow the spread of coronavirus, several countries, including the United States of America, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Canada, and Nigeria to name a few, have adopted this control measure.

Speaking on the initiative, the Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON said, “At the Exchange, we recognize the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians and the need to adopt more proactive steps in stemming the tide. In line with our tradition of supporting the communities where we operate, we have launched the Masks For All Nigerians campaign to ensure that protective masks get into the hands of citizens in the more vulnerable places.”

“Through our media enlightenment engagement, we will raise awareness on the proper use of masks, continue to encourage adherence to the guidelines that have been provided by relevant agencies and emphasize that wearing of masks alone is not enough protective measure against COVID-19. We have also been deliberate with this intervention by patronising local manufacturers in our efforts to support indigenous businesses, who we have mandated to comply with the mask production specifications provided by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC),” Mr. Onyema further stated.

On his part, the President of the National Council, NSE, Otunba Abimbola Ogunbanjo said, “We are facing an unprecedented existential threat that requires us to adopt a more collaborative approach in fighting this pandemic especially where social interaction is inevitable. As we work to encourage the use of Personal Protective Equipment through adequate production and distribution of reusable face masks, we call on the capital market ecosystem to support this initiative by wearing a mask when in public settings and donating masks especially to those at the bottom of the pyramid so as to protect lives leading to the reactivation of our economy.”

The Exchange has displayed remarkable resilience during this pandemic and continues to support the fight against COVID-19 in line with the strategic pillars of its Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR) strategy – community, workplace, marketplace and environment. The Masks For All Nigerians campaign and the donation of masks will provide immense support to the Government in reaching communities who have hitherto been left vulnerable. The Exchange continues to support remote working and trading; promote market deepening activities; create an enabling regulatory environment for stakeholders; and recognise the efforts of public and private sector players in raising awareness, ramping up testing and increasing the capacity of the health sector to slow the spread of COVID-19.!

Haruna Jalo-Waziri Appointed To ISSA Board

The Chief Executive Officer of the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), Haruna Jalo-Waziri has been appointed as the representative of the global community of Central Securities Depositories (CSD) on the operating committee of the International Securities Services Association (ISSA).
The ISSA which made the announcement said the appointment is with immediate effect.
The operating committee of the ISSA chaired by Jyi-Chueh, Executive Director, Standard Chartered Bank, is the pivotal Of the ISSA saddled with the responsibility providing technical support and execution of Executive Board of ISSA in proposing, executing and managing work projects aimed at advancing securities services globally.
In conveying the message, the Chief Executive Officer of ISSA, Parry Colin noted ‘ we are delighted that Jalo has agreed to be a member of the ISSA operating committee going forward. We welcome him as the representative of the World Forum of Central Securities Depositories (WFC) to the committee’. Parry noted the value proposition of nominating and appointing Jalo to the operating committee of the ISSA, including his leadership role in the Nigerian CSD and his understanding of ISSA as core member. He expressed excitement at Jalo’s appointment as he looks forward to the invaluable contribution towards delivering on the audacious mission and strategic objectives of the ISSA,going forward.
In reaction to his appointment Mr Jalo-Waziri noted ‘ this is a clarion call to service in an industry that I am most passionate about. It is my pleasure to have been nominated and appointed to join the esteemed professionals on the operating committee of the ISSA and I look forward to working with colleagues, with diverse global experience in actively promoting forward-thinking solution that create efficiencies and mitigate risk within the global securities services industry’.
For more than 40years, ISSA has made significant contributions to the development of the world-wide securities services industry by facilitating interaction among market participants and providing leadership in the formulation and promotion of best practices in the post-trade securities services.

Investor’s Identity: SEC Introduces Data  and Consent Form

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has developed a standardized Investor’s Data and Consent Form to be adopted by all Capital Market Operators as a means of addressing the problem associated with identity management in the capital market

Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity, usually as a method to gain financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person’s name, and perhaps to the other person’s disadvantage or loss.

The Form will assist CMOs in collecting and updating investors data as well as enable CMOs to obtain consent of investors for implementing capital market initiatives targeted at improving overall experience and participation in the capital market.

Acting DG of the SEC, Ms. Mary Udukwho disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, said identity management has been a problem not just in the Capital market but in many sectors of Nigeria’s economy, but assured that the SEC is making effort to address this challenge in the capital market.

“We are handling it, and that is why we came up with that form, that form has been exposed and we have asked the Capital market operators and other stakeholders to give us their comments on that form. We want to get as much information as we need from investors to be able to use it in the right way while also protecting that information.

The Acting DG expressed the commitment of the Commission to identify investors properly so as to guard against flow of illicit funds into the capital market.

She said, “We need to identify our investors, we need to know who is putting money in our market and who is not. That will also help us to take care of money laundering and other vices and people we don’t want in our market. That form is out there and we expect every stakeholder to look at it and make comments and other capital market operators so that we can use it to get information from investors and that information would be stored in data base protected under the law and used to ensure that we have unique identifier investors.

“For example, years ago, before the global financial crisis, there was lack of good identity management in the market and that made it easy for some people to buy stocks using multiple identities when companies were doing IPOs at that time. What has happened now is that we find it difficult to reconcile ownership of these stocks. That is why we have a window open right now for people who got stocks in multiple identities to regularize them.

Uduk however warned that the SEC would no longer tolerate investors buying stocks in fake names, terming it as illegal.

She added that the window of opportunity is still open for such investors to regularize their accounts at no penalty saying that the identity management would assist in ensuring that it does not happen in the future.

SEC Boss, Uduk, Joins IOSCO Board

Mary-Uduk-Actng-DG-SEC-
Mary-Uduk-Actng-DG-SEC-

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The Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk has been elected into the board of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, IOSCO.

Ms. Uduk is to represent the Africa/Middle-East Regional Committee, AMERC on the IOSCO board for a period of two years.

The AMERC comprises securities regulators that are IOSCO members within the Middle East and North Africa as well as sub-Saharan African region

Announcing the result of the keenly contested election, Secretary General of IOSCO, Mr. Paul Andrews said “The voting period for the AMERC Representative position ended on 20 March 2020. The committee elected the SEC Nigeria as AMERC Representative to the IOSCO Board for the term 2020-2022.

“I would like to congratulate the SEC Nigeria and Mary Uduk and wish her every success in this role”.

In her response to the announcement, Uduk expressed her sincere gratitude on behalf of SEC Nigeria to all AMERC members for their support in electing the Commission to represent AMERC on the Board of IOSCO for the 2020 to 2022 term.

She said, “I am indeed honoured for the trust and confidence reposed on SEC Nigeria and wish to restate our commitment to conscientiously represent the Region at the IOSCO Board and work closely with Ms. Nehza Hayat, the incoming AMERC Chair and all other AMERC members on the Board to advance the course of the region.

“Once again, I thank you immensely for your support and kindly accept my highest regards, while I urge everyone to keep safe at this period”.

IOSCO is an association of organizations that regulate the world’s securities and futures markets. Members are typically primary securities and/or futures regulators in a national jurisdiction or the main financial regulator from each country

The IOSCO Board is its governing and standard-setting body and is comprised of 31 securities regulators. Mr. Ashley Ian Alder, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, is the chair of the IOSCO Board

COVID-19: SEC Issues Operational Guidelines

T

SEC-Nigeria
SEC-Nigeria

hat Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC,  has issued an advisory that would mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on capital market operations.

In a circular to capital market stakeholders on COVID-19, the SEC released a number of market-focused adjustments to be adopted in the interim in response to the effects of COVID-19 which includes filing and processing of applications electronically, extension of deadline on 2019 annual reports and Q1 2020 reports, postponement of the Q1 Capital Market Committee meeting earlier scheduled for April 23, 2020.

The Commission stated that applications shall be filed electronically while pending applications and requests by CMOs for update of information would be processed via registration@sec.gov.ng. However, fresh applications for registration of Capital Market Operators are suspended until further notice.

Also, returns shall be filed electronically while the Commission has approved a 60-day extension, in the first instance for public companies and capital market operators to file their 2019 annual reports and Q1 2020 reports.

By the advisory, public companies are to take appropriate precautionary measures as recommended by the Federal and State Governments as well as the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure the safety of shareholders and participants at Annual General Meetings/Extra-Ordinary General Meetings and other meetings which may be held during the prevalence of the pandemic.

“The first Capital Market Committee Meeting for the year scheduled to hold on April 23, 2020, and all other meetings have been postponed indefinitely. All complaints and enquiries should be made to the Commission at sec@sec.gov.ng,  09-4621100 and  09-4621168 or at our various social media accounts

“It is important to note that the foregoing guidelines are not exhaustive, but rather represent an outline of immediate actions the Commission considers necessary to sustain the actualization of its regulatory mandate and maintain the integrity of the Nigerian capital market during this challenging period. Accordingly, the Commission will continue to issue updates to market stakeholders as appropriate. The Commission will also continue to closely coordinate with other financial regulators and governmental authorities” the SEC stated.

The SEC enjoins all capital market stakeholders to adhere to all recent directives on safety and social distancing, the Commission stated that it is focused on the following measures, amongst others: ensuring the continuity of its operations;  monitoring market functions and systemic risks; providing regulatory flexibility and guidance to issuers, trading platforms, capital market operators and other stakeholders impacted by COVID-19; and continuation of investor protection efforts and relevant enforcement actions,

The spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) worldwide has created a degree of uncertainty and anxiety, as governments and health experts attempt to curtail the proliferation of the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had warned that given Africa’s fragile health systems, the threat posed by COVID-19 in the continent is considerable. This has led to various actions by the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria to curb the spread of the virus.