SEC Boss Tasks Stakeholders On Tech Deployment To Deepen inclusion

Photo caption: From left, Emmanuel Onoja, Group Head, Research & Business Intelligence, GTI Capital Limited; Temidayo Obisan, Executive Commissioner, Operations, representing the Director-General of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC); Mrs. Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma, Chairman, Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN); and Dr. Femi Oyenuga of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), at the weekend in Lagos challenged policymakers and capital market stakeholders to leverage technology to expand access to financial services and deepen the nation’s financial inclusion rate.

This, the Director-General of the commission, Lamido Yuguda, said is necessary, because everyone in the value chain must acknowledge the critical role technology would continue to play in expanding access to affordable financial services.

Speaking at the 2021 Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) workshop Yuguda, stressed the need for participants in the nation’s capital market to leverage technology to close the huge financial inclusion gap that currently exists in the economy and bring the unbanked into the financial space, thereby shrinking the huge informal sector.

The DG, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Operations, Temidayo Obisan, noted that Nigeria’s over 191m active mobile subscribers and 140m active data subscribers as of October 3, 2021, are a far cry from the abysmal number of bank account holders, or retail investors in the market. Increasing the number of those with access to financial services in the country, he added, aside from expanding access, also provides cost-effective means of reaching the untapped market, especially in the rural areas.

Closing this financial inclusion gap, he continued, would help reduce the cost of providing financial transactions, since it involves little or no infrastructure cost and offers the highest outreach.

“Leveraging technology to offer financial service has advantage over traditional means because it breaks down geographical constraints.

“It also simplifies the means of serving existing customers for example through the use of mobile banking agents to perform banking transactions.

“Financial institutions are increasingly using electronic channels to onboard clients and address customers’ queries and bring financial product offerings to the prospective users,” he said.

On measures adopted so far by the commission to boost financial inclusion in Nigeria, Yuguda said SEC is currently working with the Fund Managers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) to accelerate financial inclusion to collective investment schemes.

He said the commission is proposing a hackathon challenge to help develop a comprehensive suite of mobile internet-based services targeted at having end-to-end processes of the entire capital market.

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Director, HOD Securities and Investment Services of SEC, Abdulkadir Abbas, spoke of the need for an active collaboration of all market stakeholders to help drive the initiative.

According to him, adoption of technology can help open up the capital market and bridge the gap of the unbanked which has created room for the proliferation of unregistered outlets that have continued to swindle investors of their resources in the market.

He said: “Average age of participation in the capital market is 53 years whereas the power is in the youths. We need to bring these youths to play on the capital market.

“We need market infrastructure to drive this initiative and some tools to help onboard people in the rural areas. We have these requirements, it is the starting point,” Abbas stressed.