VFD Group Mulls SplitXchange As Financing Option For Nigeria’s Creative Industry

Caption: From left, Vice Chairman, Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN), Friday Ekeoba; Managing Director of Splitar Limited, Folagbade Adeyemi; Chairman CAMCAN, Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma; and Head Marketing & Corporate Communications of VFD Group, Muyiwa Olowoporoku during the CAMCAN Quarterly Forum hosted by VFD Group in Lagos on Tuesday.

VDF Group Plc, on Tuesday in Lagos noted the need for better financing of Nigeria’s entertainment and media industry to boost foreign exchange earnings and economic development.

Speaking at the 2024 first quarterly forum of the Capital Market Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN), the Managing Director of Splitar Limited, Folagbade Adeyemi, said VFD is actively pursuing an exchange platform tailored towards the media and entertainment sector, offering diverse investment opportunities for both domestic and international investors.

The platform, SplitXchange, which is currently at its development stage, he said, would offer a platform for financing the media and entertainment industry, among other alternative assets when completed.

Adeyemi noted that seeing the huge potential in the alternative assets, Splitar Holdings through the Split Exchange, would drive the alternative assets space with its revolutionary digital exchange.

With Nigeria’s estimated population at 208.8 million people, Adeyemi highlighted the increasing demand for Nigerian content.

Speaking on the theme: “Beyond Tradition: Increasing Relevance of Alternative Assets in Capital Market,” Adeyemi lamented the absence of robust funding pillars in the country, lamented the situation where funding for the Nigerian entertainment sector primarily originates from outside the country.

According to him, the new market in alternative assets, include Arts and Commodities, Real Estate and Entertainment and Media (E&M).

Speaking on the potential of Entertainment and Media, specifically, he noted the global trend of an average market size of $41bn as at 2021 with an estimated growth 4.2%.

Unfortunately, he said the country only earns a miserly $5bn from the E&M, compared to $750bn by the United States from same sector; while the United Kingdom grosses $140bn.

Adeyemi whilst pointing out investments by Netflix and Amazon which had churned out blockbuster movies that have gained viewership and streams across the globe noted that Nigeria’s biggest investor in the form of Pension Assets was yet to invest in the entertainment or streaming services.

He stressed the need to resolve the challenge of liquidity, efficiency, and barriers to entry in the country.

“In today’s market, the quick conversion of assets into cash is a challenge due to the absence of a well-structured marketplace that oversees and regulates these assets.

“The automation of processes such as compliance, escrow account management, dividend distribution, corporate action management, and drag-along actions technology presents a significant challenge in today’s alternative market.

“The high initial cost of assets in this market restricts participation to only affluent individuals and corporate investors,” he said.

Adeyemi explained that whereas the entertainment sector as a self-starter is dependent on the banking sector as the primary provider of funding, it remains excluded from the organised financial sector due to the inability of intermediaries to recognise Intellectual Property (IP) as a suitable collateral to access funding.

“Projects are financed informally through a network of angel investors, high net worth individuals, non-governmental organisations, government and personal savings,”  Adeyemi said.

He further pointed out that “investors and asset creators face challenges when seeking investment opportunities or raising capital through traditional financial avenues.

“Traditional financial institutions are ill-equipped to appraise the industry opportunities due to poor visibility, data and income/revenue leakages leading to mispricing through high-interest rates, market illiquidity of associated securities, poor market depth, and lack of accessibility for retail investors,” he said.

Aside from this, he said, conventional financing methods do not offer an efficient means to invest in fractional ownership of valuable assets.

“This lack of accessibility hinders the growth of the investment market and restricts opportunities for both investors and asset creators,” he said.