Eleven directors of Fidelity Bank Plc were among 437 directors of companies recently awarded with Fiduciary Awareness Certification Test (FACT), a key component of the corporate governance Rating System (CGRS).
The bank as an institution also received the CGRS certificate among 35 companies that made over the 70 per cent threshold for the CGRS process.
The certificates were presented to the directors and companies at the award ceremony in Lagos that was organised by the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) in conjunction with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) recently.
The highpoint of the occasion was the launch of the Corporate Governance Index of the NSE which seeks to track the performance of the 35 CGRS rated companies using their market capitalisation, free float and corporate governance rating scores.
Speaking after receiving the certificates on behalf of the bank, Fidelity Bankâ€™s Chairman, Mr. Ernest C. Ebi, described the awards as a significant achievement for the bank in particular, and for othercompanies that were awarded.
Ebi stressed that receiving the award would strengthen the bankâ€™s corporate governance process and boost investor confidence in the bank.
â€œWe feel quite good. You can see itâ€™s a very significant achievement for all the companies that have been so recognised and particularly for us because all our board members actually went through the process and that would strengthen the corporate governance process in the bank. So, we’re very pleased about it,â€ Ebi said.
â€œYou know the beauty about it is that it boosts investor confidence in your bank or in your business because when they know that you have been through this process there is a lot to gain from the company. And going through the process itself brings out a lot of issues you may have had like corporate governance, investor relation and so on.
â€œSo for 11 directors of one bank in one board to go through this process is highly commendable. And it is going to be a great morale booster for us and it will encourage a lot of investors to look in our direction,â€ he added.
He said the bank would brace up to the challenge thrown up by the new premium index by ensuring that it takes very seriously three key factors â€“ capital, risk management and corporate governance, in the course of doing business.
Earlier in his address, the CEO of the Nigerian Stock (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, said the launch of the CGRS Index was an important milestone to strengthening listed companies by tracking their corporate governance practices.
â€œThis index will increase transparency in our market and provide investors additional data points upon which to make sound decisions,â€ Onyema said.
The NSE boss congratulated the companies that have successfully completed the certification process.
On his part, the President of the Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders and Shareholder in Fidelity Bank, Dr. Farouk Umari, commended the recipients of the certificates for their achievements and described corporate governance as very critical.
The Fidelity Bank directors honoured were Nnamdi Okonkwo, Mohammed Balarabe, Chijioke Ugochuchukwu, Aku Odinkemelu, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Bashari Mohammed, and Robert Nnana-Kalu.
Others were Michael Okeke, Alex Ojukwu, Otunba Seni Adetu, Kings Akuma, and Charles Umolu.