Deputy Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Dr. Demola Sogunle, has stressed the need for more awareness on the role of custodianship as a critical component in the capital market value chain and development of the Nigerian economy.
Sogunle stated this at a forum organised by Stanbic IBTC Nominees Limited, the custody subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc in Lagos to facilitate the building of a more robust market for custody services in Nigeria to support economic growth.
According to him, the level of awareness on how to harness the benefits of custodianship remains low in Nigeria.
“The need for excellent custody services in Nigeria remains strong. This is particularly driven by the impetus in cross-border investment activities, which we are well-positioned to provide. As the leading non-pension custodial firm in Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC provides a steady guide for clients in having the confidence that their assets under the custody of Stanbic IBTC are well-protected,” Sogunle stated.
He remarked that aligning Nigeria with the rest of the world in money market and fixed income securities was a major factor that led to the appointment of custodians by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that the adoption of international best practices will enhance transparency in money market operations in the country and cause an attendant lift in investors’ confidence, which will in turn enhance growth of the financial services industry.
“Stanbic IBTC will continue to help financial services in Nigeria become even more sophisticated and robust to attract further investments into the country,” he added.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Nominees Limited, Mr. Akeem Oyewale, said the imperative of placing assets under custodianship cannot be over-emphasised.
He explained that it is in recognition of the vital role of custodians in protecting clients’ assets that regulators such as the CBN have regulations that ensures that non-proprietary assets of banks are kept with duly licensed custodians, whilst the National Pension Commission (PenCom) also ensures that pension assets are kept with licensed Pension Fund Custodians (PFCs) in line with the Pension Reforms Act.
“The insurance industry regulator has also directed insurance assets to be kept with custodians. All these efforts are designed to protect investors’ funds and boost confidence in the system,” Oyewale said.
He added that advances in technology have enabled custodians to expand product solutions well beyond their traditional roles of settlement and safekeeping to reporting on and monitoring fund investment portfolios, which is consistent with increasing demands on corporate governance, as well as the increased accountability expected of fund managers and/or trustees.
Stanbic IBTC Nominees Limited, he said, will not rest on its oars in delivering value to customers as well as prospects.
“The company, which holds custodial assets on behalf of clients of Stanbic IBTC Bank, will continue to leverage the expertise, technology and experience of the Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC belongs, to deliver sustainable shareholder value to its clientele,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Capital Markets, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri, who commended Stanbic IBTC for organising the event, said it needed to be emphasised that the capital market is an enabler of wealth creation, which is vital for sustainable economic growth.